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Report: Drug Overdoses Still Climbing In Arizona

Drug overdoses in Arizona are still climbing.

Twice as many overdoses were reported in the last four months of 2018 as compared to the same period the year before, according to preliminary numbers from the Arizona Department of Health Services.  

A total of 1,375 people are believed to have died from overdoses last year — the vast majority of them in Maricopa County.  

More than half of overdoses in Arizona now involve multiple drugs such as meth and heroin.

Meanwhile, the number of opioid prescriptions and the average dose continue to decline in the state. That comes more than a year after state lawmakers passed legislation placing new limits on physicians’ ability to prescribe opioids.

As part of its response to the overdose crisis, Gov. Doug Ducey’s administration has also launched two media campaigns — one aimed at preventing teens from starting opioids and the other to help patients manage chronic pain without opioids.

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.