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(AP Photo/Fernando Vergara)
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Arizona lawmakers ramp up efforts to reduce opioid overdose rates

(AP Photo/Fernando Vergara)

PHOENIX — After the number of opioid overdose deaths peaked in 2015, lawmakers from the Phoenix area banded together on Wednesday to discuss how to reduce addiction rates.

More than 33,000 people died from opioid overdoses in 2015, more than any year on record, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Half of the overdoses involved prescription drugs.

Tempe City Councilman Joel Navarro said lawmakers in the East Valley are bringing in experts from across the country to help “tackle the opioid crisis” in the area.

“We want to work as a region, we want to send out a good message,” Navarro said. “We want to support programs and ideas that make sense and we want to advocate for those programs and ideas that make sense.”

Navarro said the group wants to collect and apply best practices, expand effective addiction programs, and, most of all, find the funding to put programs in place.

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