Arizona Overdose Deaths Skyrocket in 2020

Spilled pill bottle on table top with a spoon underneath

New data released from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show Arizonans turned to fatal doses of painkillers and other drugs amid the COVID-19 pandemic at a much higher rate than in other years. 

Overdose deaths in Arizona increased 33% to 2,743 from February 2020 to April 2021. Overdoses across the country increased 34% over the same time period. The change is a sharp uptick from years prior. From January 2015 to January 2020, the overdose death rate increased by 18%. 

According to CDC data, synthetic opioids such as Fentanyl accounted for nearly two-thirds of overdose deaths. Fentanyl is multiple times more potent than typical painkillers such as Oxycontin. The powerful opioid has become a popular drug to manufacture for the black market to smuggle across the southern border into California and Arizona, according to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency.

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