Preliminary data appears to show an increase in overdose deaths this summer even after Gov. Doug Ducey declared a health emergency to address the national opioid epidemic affecting Arizona.
Officials say they can't confirm a definitive increase in deaths until final cause reports are available. But the state report released Wednesday showed Arizona had 280 suspected opioid deaths from mid-June through Aug. 24. A previous report noted 790 opioid total deaths in 2016.
The report states there were more than 2,300 suspected overdoses during that period throughout all but one of Arizona's 15 counties.
Arizona Department of Health Services officials say it underscores the urgency to take action. The report includes a series of recommendations for law enforcement, opioid legislation, and medical education curriculums across Arizona.