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Tucson Police Counter Narcotics Alliance keeps track of opioid overdoses, helps those struggling

Posted at 6:14 AM, Dec 10, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-10 11:19:32-05

TUCSON, Ariz. - In 2017, Governor Doug Ducey declared a state of emergency over the opioid crisis, since then, law enforcement agencies across the state have been hard at work trying to help.

After the governor declared a state of emergency the Arizona Department of Health Services began keeping track of suspected opioid overdoses and suspected opioid overdose deaths.

Between June 15, 2017 and December 5, 2019 there were more than 3,000 suspected overdose deaths, and more than 30,000 suspected opioid overdoses across the state of Arizona.

In Pima County there have been more than 1,000 suspected opioid overdoses, according to the Arizona Department of Health Services.

RELATED: Opioid overdoses continue to rise in Arizona

About a year ago the Tucson Police Department began receiving weekly reports from the department of health services, in which the department highlights zip codes where opioid overdoses are happening.

"Typically what happens is we get notified of a zip code, we work with it at the counter narcotics alliance and we go to the fire departments the hospitals and all of that and we put together more information that would help us better target an area," said Commander John Leavitt, who works with the Counter Narcotics Alliance.

Once the alliance gets the weekly report from the health department, they plot the information on a map, which allows them to see get a broader look at which parts of town need immediate help.

Once officers determine areas that are most in need they give targeted information to non-governmental organizations, who then go out searching for anyone who may be in need.

RELATED: FDA approves generic nasal spray for opioid overdoses

"The health care providers they will actually give people Narcan and go out and get them into treatment," said Commander Leavitt.

The new effort is something Commander Leavitt said the Counter Narcotics Alliance is working hard at, adding he hopes that by continuing to keep track of where opioid overdoses happen, they can get people help much faster.