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Ducey Executive Order Increases Monitoring Of Opioid Overdoses

Medical providers in Arizona will soon have to report more information about opioid overdoses.

On Tuesday, Gov. Doug Ducey issued an executive order directing state health officials to ramp up data collection in an effort to curb deaths.

Nearly 800 people died in Arizona from overdoses in 2016. But the state was still updating those numbers a year later. That will soon change because of Ducey’s executive order, which comes shortly after he declared the opioid crisis a public-health emergency.

Now health-care providers, law enforcement, emergency services and others will have 24 hours to report overdoses and suspected opioid overdose deaths. The state will also track when the overdose reversal drug naloxone is dispensed and administered.

Director of the Department of Health Services Dr. Cara Christ said they’re trying to reframe the approach to the opioid epidemic and treat it as any other public-health crisis.

"We need to be able to respond and we need to be able to plan interventions and implement them based on real-time data,” Christ said.

The order authorizes Christ’s agency to track specific patients that could be at risk. State agencies will also be able to share more data about opioid use than ever before.

Ducey has set a goal of reducing opioid-related deaths by 25 percent in the next two years and 50 percent over the next five years.

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.