PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -- As our state sees more fentanyl crossing the border, emergency rooms are noticing a startling trend.

"Fentanyl is being cut into other drugs, meth, cocaine, and people are just overdosing left and right," said Dr. Arya Chowdhury, an independent contractor working in several emergency rooms throughout the Valley.

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This uptick in overdoses is hurting already busy hospitals.

"We're losing people," said Chowdhury. "We're losing lives, and it's difficult to intervene, so we're trying to take measures, but because we're so stretched in so many directions, it's difficult."

Before the pandemic, Chowdhury said she saw one to three overdose patients per shift. Today, she says that number has jumped between five and 10 patients, and many of them are teenagers.

"When you see data that shows that fentanyl, opioid-related deaths now are killing more kids in Pima County than car accidents, that should be a wake-up call for all us," said Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich.

He recently sent a letter to the United States Secretary of State, asking for help to fight fentanyl.

"We need to make sure we do everything we can to combat the flow of illegal drugs across our southern border," said Brnovich. "That means the federal government combatting the cartels, but it also means the feds doing their jobs, securing our border."

Brnovich says China is sending chemicals to Mexico, where labs are making pills that get smuggled into Arizona.

"We're seeing the prices decrease," said Brnovich. "We're seeing it become more and more available. As a result of that, we are seeing more of our kids, sons, daughters, nieces, and nephews die."

"What I'm seeing is patients that are in respiratory arrest, that are not breathing, dead, or died for a few minutes that we brought back by giving and administering the Narcan," said Chowdhury.

"Just last year, the DEA seized more than 9-million fentanyl pills," said Brnovich. "I mean, that's literally enough fentanyl almost to kill the entire population of our state."

Phoenix-area hospitals seeing increase in overdoses

The Arizona Drug Addiction helpline is there for those who need it 24-7 at 888-576-4147.


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