Credit: Mark Lennihan | AP

BOSTON — A state panel says the number of emergency department visits by people with opioid-related issues dropped by nearly 6 percent in Massachusetts from 2016 to 2017.

The report released Wednesday by the Health Policy Commission is based on a state database of hospital discharges up to 2017, the most recent year available.

The commission analyzed emergency department visits, and inpatient hospital stays, for people who have an “opioid-related diagnosis,” such as opioid dependence, misuse or overdose.

Nearly 68,000 opioid-related hospital visits occurred in 2017, a little more than 2 percent of all discharges.

The drop came after years of increases.

David Seltz, the commission’s executive director, told The Boston Globe the report shows that “Massachusetts is starting to make some progress in reducing the impact of the opioid epidemic.”

Watch: The opioid crisis in Maine

[bdnvideo id=”2824144″]