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Arizona drug overdose deaths at record levels, according to latest data

Posted at 6:10 PM, Nov 17, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-17 20:10:53-05

PHOENIX — Newly released data from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention show that drug overdose deaths in Arizona have reached record levels.

For the last year, between May 2020 and April 2021, the most recently available data, the rate of overdose deaths in the state increased 24%.

The data from the National Center for Health Statistics provides provisional overdose death counts year-over-year on the month being reported.

Between January of 2015 and February 2020, the period before COVID-19 reporting began, the total death rate in Arizona increased 18%, in line with population growth statistics.

Meanwhile, the rate of drug overdose deaths during that same time increased 73%. Both the total death rate and drug overdoses have seen a significant rise since March 2020, increasing around 30%.

Synthetic drugs, like Fentanyl, are a main driver of these numbers.

The rate of overdose deaths from synthetic drugs is growing by a staggering 498%, nearly five times the rate of overdose death since reporting began in January of 2018.

Overdose deaths from amphetamines have doubled since 2018 while overdoses deaths from other drugs such as cocaine and heroin have decreased 16%.

Synthetics overtook both amphetamines and the combined overdose deaths from cocaine, heroin, and methadone as the leading cause of death in January of 2020.

There was a notable increase in overdose deaths during the three-month period of the COVID-19 lockdown between March and June of last year.

While the overall death rate in the state increased 16%, overdose deaths from synthetics increased 42%. Amphetamine overdose deaths meanwhile increased almost 30%.

Statistics at the national level show the rate of overdose deaths increasing 27% between April 2020 and April 2021. At least 5 states saw increases above 50%, with Vermont fairing the worst at just under 70%.