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Arizona Health Officials Expand Blood Screening To Study Opioid Deaths

Arizona health officials are beginning to collect more information about suspected drug overdoses.

This week, the state public health lab expanded its blood screening in an effort to understand which exact drugs are causing deaths.

Dr. Cara Christ is head of the Department of Health Services and says this data will shed more light on the opioid epidemic in Arizona.

“Is it just one drug? Are we seeing new types of opioids in our community? Are we seeing opioids that are more dangerous are they prescription versus heroin?” Christ asked.

Arizona recently declared the opioid epidemic a public health emergency — with on average two people dying every day.

News Science
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.