Monday morning, Governor Doug Ducey declared a statewide health emergency in response to the growing number of deaths resulting from opioid abuse.
The statistics cited in the announcement are alarming: According to data from the Arizona Department of Health Services, there were 790 deaths resulting from opioid use in 2016, which averages out to two per day. That represents a 74 percent increase since 2012.
And of all the drug overdoses that took place last year, more than half involved the use of opioids — a category that includes heroin, prescription painkillers, and synthetic drugs like fentanyl.
Ducey’s declaration of emergency calls for “enhanced surveillance” to track the epidemic, tightening the rules that govern doctors’ ability to prescribe opioids, and training law enforcement officers to administer Naloxone to