The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said drug overdose deaths in the U.S. rose 2% in 2022, and experts say this is a hopeful sign.

“The fact that it does seem to be flattening out, at least at a national level, is encouraging,” said Katherine Keyes, a Columbia University epidemiology professor whose research focuses on drug use. “But these numbers are still extraordinarily high. We shouldn’t suggest the crisis is in any way over.”

The increase makes the first year without a substantial hike since 2018. An estimated 109,680 overdose deaths occurred last year, according to numbers posted by the CDC. While it is still 2% more than in 2021, it is nothing like the 30% increase seen in 2020, and 15% increase in 2021.

But experts caution that overdose deaths could rise again due to things like scaling back tele health services.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.