Arizona governor declares state of emergency over opioid crisis

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Republican Gov. Doug Ducey on Monday declared a statewide health emergency in Arizona due to surging rates of opioid overdose deaths.

The declaration will allow Arizona Department of Health Services to more rapidly respond to the crisis via the distribution of the opioid-overdose antidote naloxone and increased coordination for public health efforts between state, local and private-sector partners. The official designation puts Arizona in league with multiple other states hard hit by the nation's drug epidemic that implemented the same designation.

"As the number of opioid overdoses and deaths increase at an alarming rate, we must take action. It's time to call this what it is — an emergency," said Mr. Ducey. "Most of us know someone impacted by substance abuse — our family, our friends, our neighbors. Our hearts ache for them, but that isn't enough. We must do more. I'm declaring a statewide health emergency because we need to know more about the epidemic, including enhanced data that illustrates when and where these overdoses occur so that we can develop real, targeted solutions."

An average of more than two people a day died of opioid overdoses in Arizona in 2016, bringing the statewide total to 790 opioid overdose deaths.

More articles on opioids: 
Carfentanil behind rise in opioid overdoses in Manatee County, says Florida police official 
NIH will partner with pharma to tackle opioid crisis 
A 'mass-fatality event' — Ohio sees more than 4,000 overdose deaths in 2016

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