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More heroin overdose fatalities reported in Arizona

In the wake of the apparent drug overdose death of actor Philip Seymour Hoffman, there is some disturbing news from the Arizona Department of Health Services.

The number of heroin deaths in the state is up.

“Last year, there were 100 Arizonans who died from apparent heroin overdoses,” said ADHS Director Will Humble.
“That’s the second highest in the last few years.”

In 2011, 125 died from heroin overdoses. That number dropped to 93 in 2012, but is now way back up. Experts say that more people are using heroin because they’re finding that heroin is much less expensive than prescription drugs, and gives them the same high.

Humble described how heroin kills.

“It basically binds to the opioid receptors in your brain, and that way it creates a high,” Humble said. “When people die from a heroin overdose, it’s because that the brain is so affected that it forgets to tell the body to breathe.

There also appears to be more heroin coming into the state. The Drug Enforcement Administration says that heroin seizures jumped from 154 kilograms in 2008 to 522 in 2012.