KGUN 9News


Arizona sees increase in opioid deaths

Data reveals a 16% increase in deaths last year
Posted at 8:33 AM, Jun 02, 2017
and last updated 2017-06-02 11:33:16-04

Arizona is seeing a spike in opioid overdose deaths, a state report said. There are actually more opioid overdoses in Arizona right now than in the last ten years.

The statistics also reveal last year there was a 16% increase in deaths from the previous year. There were 790 oipiod deaths last year, the state faced an average of two deaths a day, officials said.  Prescription opioids caused 482 deaths, compared to 308 for heroin. The numbers are too high, despite all the efforts to reduce them, state officials added.

Last week, CVS drugstores across Arizona began selling Narcan, a brand of the drug Naloxone, an opioid-overdose reversal drug, without a prescription. CVS joins Walgreens as the second pharmacy chain to sell it to customers without a prescription. Naloxone is the first drug that is administered to anyone unconscious who is suspected to have overdosed on opioids.

Governor Doug Ducey also put a limit on painkiller prescriptions for people on medicaid, and Phoenix implemented a program that lets addicts turn in their drugs to local police and get treatment. That new program, aims to provide a safe and convenient way of disposing of prescription drugs, while also educating the public about the potential for abuse, officials said.

Meanwhile, officials will continue creating more programs to fight the epidemic. One death is too many, officials said.