Maricopa County debuts resources to help tackle fentanyl crisis

Dec 7, 2023, 4:25 AM

DPS finds huge batch of fentanyl pills traffic stop...

(Arizona Department of Public Safety photo)

(Arizona Department of Public Safety photo)

PHOENIX – Maricopa County unveiled a new video series and website designed to help residents understand the growing impact of fentanyl use and prevent tragedies in their communities.

The “Focus on Fentanyl” videos and other informational resources are now available for use by the public.

County attorney Rachel Mitchell said Maricopa County is on the front lines of the nation’s fentanyl crisis and her office is committed to holding drug dealers accountable. In 2017, the Attorney’s Office prosecuted 37 fentanyl cases. In 2022, that number climbed to 6,629 fentanyl cases.

Mitchell points out that the youth who are most affected by the crisis lack awareness about the drug and its dangers.

“Our teens who are most affected by this crisis don’t know what fentanyl looks like and they don’t know how deadly it can be. Teenagers should be able to learn from their mistakes. They should not have to die from them,” Mitchell said.

Is fentanyl the deadliest drug in Arizona?

In Maricopa County, more than three people die every day on average due to fentanyl. The synthetic opioid has overtaken meth as the deadliest drug in Arizona.

Fentanyl deaths have increased by 4,900% since 2015, as just a few grains of fentanyl are enough to kill an adult male. 60% of all drug-related deaths involve fentanyl.

The video series also teaches individuals how to recognize the signs of overdose and administer Narcan (Naloxone) nasal spray with a video featuring Maricopa County Medical Director Dr. Rebecca Sunenshine.

What are the signs of a fentanyl overdose?

  • Pinpoint pupils
  • Slow, shallow breathing
  • Loss of consciousness or excessive sleepiness
  • Choking or gurgling sounds
  • A limp body
  • Bluish skin or lips

What else is Maricopa County doing to prevent the fentanyl crisis?

Board of Supervisors Chairman Clint Hickman made it his mission to tackle the fentanyl crisis as he began his term in January.

“From the Office of the Medical Examiner and Public Health, who are tracking vital data and funding drug treatment partners to the Sheriff and County Attorney offices, who are arresting and prosecuting drug dealers to get fentanyl off our streets, we have made this focus a priority and are working hard to protect our neighbors across the County,” Hickman said.

The Maricopa County Attorney’s Office will also continue its series of free community forums featuring Mitchell and a panel of experts who will share insights and resources.

A Spanish-language forum will be held on Feb. 6 at 6 p.m. at The Salvation Army Kroc Center on 1375 E. Broadway Road.

An English-language forum will be held on March 4 at 6 p.m. at Notre Dame Preparatory High School on 9701 E. Bell Road.

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Maricopa County debuts resources to help tackle fentanyl crisis