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CDC: Deaths From Drug Overdoses In U.S. Spiked in 2016

Deaths from drug overdoses in the U.S. spiked in 2016 according to new data released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

More than 63,600 people died from drug-related overdoses last year. That marks a 21 percent increase from 2015. Opioids continue to dominate the picture, primarily fentanyl and heroin.

Bob Anderson is with the CDC.

“There does seem to be evidence that people are shifting from the traditional prescription opioids to heroin and illicitly manufactured fentanyl, both of which are more deadly,” Anderson said.

More than 1,300 people in Arizona died from overdoses in 2016. Arizona’s death rate is statistically about the same as the national rate — unlike neighboring states Utah, New Mexico and Nevada.

For the first time since the early '60s, life expectancy decreased for a second year in a row, dropping to 78.6 years. Anderson attributes that to the death toll from overdoses.

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.