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Nearly 200 possible opioid overdoses reported in Arizona last week

(AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

PHOENIX — Arizona health officials reported nearly 200 suspected opioid-related overdoses in the last week.

In a press release, the Arizona Department of Health and Human Services said 15 of the 191 people treated died.

The information was released as part of a new initiative spearheaded by Gov. Doug Ducey that gets real-time data about opioids into the hand of health professionals.

“This new, real-time data gives us a clear picture we didn’t have before,” he said in the release. “One life lost to these highly addictive drugs is too many.”

Earlier this month, Ducey declared a health crisis because of opioids. Data released in May showed 790 people died of an opioid overdose last year, an increase of 16 percent over 2015.

Ducey also signed an executive order that requires opioid overdoses and deaths be reported to state health officials within 24 hours.

“We’re going to do everything that we can from a government perspective here,” Ducey told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Mac & Gaydos after signing the order.

“We’ve limited first-fill of opioids to prescriptions that the government is paying for. We’re working with Walgreens so people can return their unused opioids so that they don’t get out into the system.”

Ducey said a big problem is that when people are facing pain and their prescription drugs run out, they sometimes turn to heroin to help. In turn, the number of heroin deaths in Arizona is up three times as much as last year and they are at the highest level since 2012.

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