An opioid related epidemic has been growing for a number of years in our city and sadly just now beginning to break into the immediate realities of the mainstream consciousness.
Current Arizona Department of Health Services and National Institute on Drug Abuse information show a strikingly grim reality; although heroin and opioid related deaths in the U.S. and Arizona have been increasing for nearly a decade now, 2016 marked a spike in the overall trend.
A look at some of the recently released statistics show how serious and widespread the issue has become.
- In 2016, somewhere between 59,000 and 65,000 people died of overdoses in the U.S.
- In Arizona, a total of 790 people (on average more than two a day) dies from overdose of opioid prescription medication s and heroin in 2016.
- Over the last five years, heroin related deaths have triples in Arizona, and heroin specifically accounted for 39 percent of all opioid deaths last year.
- Arizona adults 45 to 54 had the highest overdose rates at 18.1 deaths per 100,000 people.
- Additionally, "opiod-related encounters" cost the Arizona health-care system more than $341 million in 2015 alone and there were an estimated 51,000 "opioid-related encounters" at hospitals in 2016.
State health officials report that this surge shows no signs of stopping.
Phoenix Rescue Mission is doing it's part to help with the surge in overdoses in Arizona. We are already training our staff and volunteers on opiod safety and overdose prevention, as well as the recognition of an overdose. We are also now providing many of our centers and our Hope Coach with Naloxone, a medication used to block the effects of opiods. Administering Naloxone during an overdose is the first step in saving a life!
It's another way that your support is keeping our neighboss on this side of eternity! Our hope is to provide more man and women like Trevor (cover), who have gotten caught up in this tremendously addictive and deadly drug, with a second shot at life and a second chance at transformation.