Due to the alarmingly high number of opioid deaths in Arizona, the Governor Ducey issued a state of emergency in 2017. Although the emergency status has since been lifted, concerns about the problem of opioid abuse remain. Completing the emergency response deliverables during the state of emergency may have lifted the status, but deaths and overdoses from these potentially dangerous drugs continue.

All opioids, whether they are prescribed or illegal substances, are incredibly addictive, which can lead to overdoses and even death. Data indicates that more than two people die from opioid overdoses every day in Arizona.

Arizona statistics

The statistics below are calculated from reported cases from June 2017 to March 2020.

  • There have been 4,600 suspect opioid deaths.
  • There have been 37,382 suspect opioid overdoses.
  • There were 22,626 naloxone doses administered, which is the drug used to counteract an opioid overdose in an emergency.

From 2013 to 2017, opioid-involved deaths rose 76% in Arizona. The rate in 2017 of 13.5 deaths per 100,000 persons is just below the national average of 14.6 deaths per 100,000 persons. Fentanyl and heroin-related deaths saw the greatest increase during this period. However, prescription opioid deaths still make up a hefty portion of reported deaths.

There were 259,050 opioid prescriptions issued in January of 2020. While there has been a steady increase in prescription opioid-related deaths since 1999, there has been little change in the past decade. This indicates that efforts to decrease this facet of opioid-related deaths has essentially stalled.

Conclusions

The battle against opioid overdoses and deaths rages on. Some data suggests that the government’s educational efforts and initiatives, begun during the state of emergency, are helping to slow the mortality rate—but the death count is still far too high.