CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (CBS19 NEWS) -- The Charlottesville Police Department found a slight decline in overall crime in its recently published 2023 Annual Report, but the number of drug overdoses defied that trend with a noticeable increase.

According to the report, there were 101 overdoses in 2023. That's up from 79 in 2022. 

"No, no. I wasn't surprised at all," Charlottesville Police Chief Michael Kochis said about the increase.

Kochis says it's not just in the city, but across the entire country.

"When I speak to my peers in other jurisdictions, they are seeing a lot of the similar stuff," said Kochis.

He said he doesn't see a lot of heroin anymore. Fentanyl, which is considerably more potent, has become far more common.

He says it can be mixed into other drugs.

"Someone who may think they are taking heroin, cocaine, or even smoking marijuana may not know it's laced with fentanyl," said Kochis.

But Kochis says his department has been working hard to educate the community on what to be aware of and the dangers of it and has been doing their part in trying to identify drug traffickers.

"We need to make sure there are more resources out there for those who are suffering from substance-use disorder," he said.

But he encourages other organizations to take part in helping numbers decrease.

"It needs to be all of the above approach and, so, other systems need to step up and do their jobs," said Kochis.

Despite the increase and a challenging start to the year, with the department responding to an average of one shots-fired call per day and three homicides between the months of January and March, Kochis is proud of the progress his department has made. They’ve hired more officers and reduced vacancies from 30 to 3. According to the report, less than 0.5% of nearly 41,000 calls for service involved the use of force.

"That tells me, 1) We are hiring the right people; and 2) When we talk about de-escalation, crisis intervention training, all those things are working," said Kochis.

The CDC estimates that over 107,000 Americans died of drug overdoses in 2023, down three percent from the estimated 111,000 deaths in 2022. To view the full report, click here.