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Rural Gila County leads Arizona in non-fatal opioid overdoses. Here's how officials are responding

By Mark Brodie
Published: Tuesday, September 20, 2022 - 10:57am
Updated: Tuesday, September 20, 2022 - 12:31pm

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Alexandra Olgin/KJZZ
The injectable form of Narcan is already available to the public.

More than 2,000 Arizonans died last year due to opioid overdoses. Fentanyl was a leading cause. Those are among the findings in the state health department’s latest Opioid Overdoses Surveillance Report.

The data are also broken down by county, and show nearly 62 non-fatal overdose incidents in Maricopa County per 100,000 residents. In Gila County, though, that number was nearly 96 events, the highest in the state. Gila County also had among the highest opioid fatality rates per 100,000 residents in Arizona.

Kayle Lathrop points out that law enforcement officers in Gila County carry naloxone, which reverses an opioid overdose. There are also around a dozen distribution sites around the county.

Lathrop is the health equity and prevention manager for Gila County Health and Emergency Management. The Show spoke about whether she thinks the opioid epidemic is more of a problem in Gila County than in other places around the state.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Due to an editing error, this story’s headline has been updated to clarify that Gila County leads the state in non-fatal opioid overdoses. The county ranks No. 4 in per-capita opioid deaths.

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