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Gov. Ducey declares health crisis after opioid deaths rise

Posted at 11:22 AM, Jun 05, 2017
and last updated 2017-06-05 20:35:03-04

PHOENIX (AP) - Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey is declaring a statewide health emergency in the wake of a new report that shows deaths from opioid overdoses increased by 16 percent last year.

The governor's declaration Monday comes with an order that the state Department of Health Services increase reporting on opioid-related deaths. He also wants the department to review ways to increase the availability of the opioid antidote naloxone, develop guidelines to increase health care provider education and expand access to treatment.

Last week's report shows that 790 Arizonans died of opioid overdoses in 2016, more than two a day. Prescription opioids caused 482 deaths, compared to 308 for heroin.

The number of overdose deaths in Arizona has gone up by nearly 75 percent since 2012, when 454 were reported.