There has been a massive spike in overdoses from pills and heroin across Arizona, leading Gov. Doug Ducey to declare a state of emergency on Monday. According to Ducey, data shows a 74 percent increase in deaths related to opioid overdoses in Arizona in the past four years. In 2013, the number of reported overdoses was 454, as compared with 2016 figures of 790.

74 percent increase in deaths from drug and opioid overdoses in Arizona

Despite various programs set up to curb overdoses and drug-related deaths, the number of people dying from overdoses in 2016 was 16 percent up on the previous year.

The Arizona Department of Health Services said more disheartening data has shown a 74 percent overall increase in deaths from drug and heroin overdoses.

The New York Daily News cited Ducey as saying that while it is unknown what might happen in 2017, the situation has become urgent and the need to prevent and stop opioid abuse is paramount. He went on to say that with opioid overdoses and deaths increasing at such an alarming rate, the state has to take action, adding it is time to call the situation what it is – an emergency. Ducey said that most people know someone who has been impacted by substance abuse, whether friends, family or neighbors. He said more must be done to prevent this.

Dr. Cara Christ, the director of Arizona Health Services said the department will be looking into improving current prescription practices and to address poly drug use.

Officials will also analyze raw data on the deaths from drug and opioid overdoses to see where problem areas lie and to make changes in order to save lives.

The New York Daily News reports that according to officials, the declaration of a state of emergency gives Arizona the right to increase the distribution of the lifesaving drug, naloxone, and to coordinate efforts between government and the private sector to track overdoses.

Health Emergency Operations Center set up to combat opioid crisis in Arizona

As reported by Cronkite News, hours after Ducey’s announcement Monday, the Arizona Department of Health Services opened a new Health Emergency Operations Center, aimed at reducing the effect of opioid drugs on victims and their families. This will also assist the health and medical community, as well as law enforcement, and will aid Arizona’s economy.

Opioid overdoses affect other U.S. states

As recently reported by Blasting News, the opioid crisis is not only affecting Arizona, as stories are coming out of Georgia of dozens of people being hospitalized from mass drug overdoses due to tainted pills, believed by the users to be Percocet. Ohio saw the potentially fatal overdose by a police officer after he patted down a drug suspect and accidentally touched fentanyl on the suspect’s clothing.

In Pennsylvania, two drug addiction counselors overdosed on a combination of heroin and fentanyl.

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