Data shows decline in opioid overdose deaths in Arizona with help of programs, Narcan
PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - Opioids are a massive problem here in Arizona, stealing the lives of more than 2,000 people in 2021. However, numbers from the Arizona Department of Health Services give a small glimmer of hope, showing more than 1,500 people died of opioids in 2022.
We’ve heard the PSAS trying to reach families. “It’s been over ten years that we started seeing fentanyl creeping into the community,” said Maureen Roland with Banner Poison And Drug Information Center. Opioids have the full attention of law enforcement and doctors too. “We need to inform the public, everyone, not just adults, how dangerous this is to touch to use, to be exposed to.,” said Stephanie Siete with Community Bridges.
The data showing that overdose deaths in Arizona are seemingly on a downward trend has experts looking forward to a positive change. “It’s a hopeful sign that all we’re doing in the community is now resonating. I think when you look at those statistics you see we’re also using more Naloxone in the community,” Roland said.
In 2019, the AZDHS rolled out a program handing out Naloxone, better known as Narcan. Experts believe that the medicine and educational programs have a hand in the decline. “I’m glad people are still talking about it because we’re still living in it,” Siete said.
According to the AZDHS, in 2022, Arizona EMS and law enforcement reportedly responded to over 9,600 suspected opioid overdoses where Narcan was administered to over 80% of non-fatal suspected overdose responses.
The data also shows a decline in the number of non-fatal opioid overdoses, which could also suggest fewer overdoses are happening. “Any decrease is good, right? We want to see decreases in overdose deaths,” Siete said.
Anyone can pick up Narcan at any local pharmacy without a prescription. It’s free for most people and covered by most insurance companies. You can view a video here to learn how to use Narcan.
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