Arizona is releasing data collected on the opiod epidemic for the first time. The new data shows opiod-related events over the past week. According to the Arizona Department of Health Services, there were 191 suspected opiod overdoses with 15 turning fatal.
Christopher Hayes runs a rehabilitation facility and is himself a recovering addict. He said he's surprised by the numbers.
“There were several times I thought I overdosed,” said Hayes.
Earlier this month, Gov. Doug Ducey issued an executive order calling for immediate action on the opiod crisis. The emergency declaration required health care professionals, medical examiners and emergency responders to report any suspected overdose cases.
Doug Coleman is the Special Agent in Charge of the Arizona DEA Office. Coleman says much of the problem can be traced back to Mexico and the Sinaloa Cartel. The cartel is manufacturing knock-off oxycodone tablets made of fentanyl, which is 50 stronger than heroin.
“Opiod addiction is powerful. People will do almost anything to meet the need,” said Coleman.
The Arizona Department of Health Services is tracking five main categories. The state will collect data on opiod-related overdoses and deaths, neonatal abstinence syndrome and naloxone doses administered and dispensed. Naloxone is a drug used in emergency situations to treat overdoses.
Data collected during the first week show 18 cases of neonatal abstinence syndrome. Emergency responders administered 102 doses of naloxone.
You can go to the Arizona Department of Health Services website every Monday for new statistics.