Report: Overdoses on the rise in southern Arizona - Tucson News Now

Report: Overdoses on the rise

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TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

A new annual report from the Chief Medical Examiner has been released and overdoses are on the rise in Pima County.

Some eye-opening findings about drug overdoses in Southern Arizona. More people are dying from drug accidents than from car accidents.

On average, at least one person in Southern Arizona dies from drug overdose. A new report released by the Chief Medical Examiner lays out the rise in deaths over the past few years.

Overdoses are the number one cause of accidental deaths in Southern Arizona and the third most common for suicide.

The number of overdoses has gone up by more than 10% since last year.

According to the report, prescription drug overdoses are the most common, especially the drug oxycodone.

The majority of those deaths are men in their 40s and 50s.

Chief Medical Examiner, Dr. Greg Hess says about half of those overdoses were because people mixed two or more drugs.

Poison Control officials say drug overdoses are also on the rise nationally.

"People may not be aware there are warnings on the bottle, 'Do not take this with other medications or alcohol,' still they're potent medications," said Hess.

"More recently in the past 10-12 years, pain medication category has been on in the increase every year increasing at a much greater rate than we've seen any other exposure," said Keith Boesen with poison control.

Gail Wachtel, a Tucsonan said, "It's also being prescribed more as well as the behavior in patients in how they use it."

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