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Ducey Declares State Emergency In Response To Opioid Epidemic

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey has declared a statewide health emergency in response to the rise in deaths from opioids.

New state numbers show about a 16 percent increase in overdoses last year with nearly 800 people dying.

Heroin, in particular, has surged. The number of people who died from that drug has tripled in Arizona since 2012.

This growing death toll has led Ducey to declare a statewide emergency, which frees up funding so health officials can accelerate their response. That starts with figuring out how to get more regular, timely reporting about those dying from overdoses and ways the state can expand access to treatment, including naloxone.

Recently Ohio's attorney general sued drug manufacturers, claiming they misled doctors about the dangers of the drug.

A spokesman for Ducey says they are looking at all possible policies to curb the epidemic but that doesn’t necessarily have to include litigation.

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Will Stone grew up with the sounds of public radio. As a senior field correspondent, he strives to tell the same kind of powerful stories that got him into the business — whether that means trudging through some distant corner of the Sonoran Desert or uncovering an unknown injustice right down the street. Since joining the KJZZ newsroom in 2015, he has covered political scandals, fights over the future of energy, and efforts to care for some of Arizona’s most vulnerable communities. His pieces have also aired on national programs like Morning Edition, All Things Considered, Here & Now and Marketplace. Before coming to KJZZ, he reported for public radio stations in Nevada and Connecticut. Stone received his degree in English literature from Haverford College, where he also wrote about the arts and culture scene in Philadelphia. After graduating, he interned at NPR West in Culver City, California, where he learned from some of the network’s veteran reporters and editors. When he doesn’t have a mic in hand, Stone enjoys climbing mountains, running through his central Phoenix neighborhood and shamelessly promoting his cat, Barry.