More than 700 people in Arizona are believed to have died from opioid-related overdoses in 2017, according to end-of-the-year numbers from the Arizona Department of Health Services.
2017 was the first time state health officials began tracking opioid overdose data in real time. The initial results reveal that there were nearly 5,000 suspected opioid-related overdoses since mid-June. About 15 percent were fatal.
The majority of overdoses were clustered around the Phoenix and Tucson metro areas. Most of them happened inside a personal residence, not a health-care facility or public place. Over the past six months, the number of overdoses reported weekly has ranged from 100 to more than 250. The state aims to reduce the number of overdose deaths by 25 percent in the next five years.
Lawmakers are expected to take up legislation this year in response to the opioid epidemic, which Gov. Doug Ducey has declared a public health emergency.
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