The state health department says more than 700 people may have died from opioid-related overdoses since Arizona started a new tracking system last year.
The Arizona Republic reports the preliminary figures from the Arizona Department of Health Services show that nearly 5,000 overdoses were reported across the state since the enhanced tracking system was implemented in June.
Officials say the number of opioid deaths over the six-month period is a suspected figure as the cases are still unconfirmed. The final numbers won't be available for several months due to lags in reporting, pending toxicology screenings and ongoing investigations.
The preliminary figures suggest that the number of deaths might exceed the 2016 number. During that year, 790 people died from opioid-related overdoses - a 74 percent increase since 2012.
Information from: The Arizona Republic, http://www.azcentral.com