Rash of overdoses hits Yavapai County with 10 deaths since October
Stress from the COVID-19 pandemic a factor, police said
Authorities in Yavapai County are dealing with a rash of drug overdoses with many ending in death, some related to stress from the COVID-19 pandemic.
In a seven-month span beginning in October 2019, Prescott Valley Police said there were 25 overdose calls with 10 deaths locally.
Since April, they said there have been another seven overdose calls and four deaths in Yavapai County. In Prescott Valley alone, there have been eight overdose calls with no deaths.
The most common ages of drug users are 21 to 30, with the second highest category being ages 61 to 70.
“According to the ages, most are adults – definitely the unemploy(ment) stressors is a contributing factor,” said Traces Gordon, supervisor of Support Services for the Prescott Valley Police Department.
The Yavapai County Overdose Fatality Review Board recently released a new report outlining overall findings on the cases that had been reviewed from 2016-19. The board was formed with the goal of determining recommendations to prevent accidental drug overdose deaths.
Authorities said most overdose deaths involve multiple drugs like methamphetamine, heroin, oxycodone and fentanyl.
They said deaths have increased in recent years because of lung damage caused by vaping.
Drug dealers are always manufacturing pills containing fentanyl to look like legitimate medications, according to a news release. Do not take non-prescribed medication or medicines from unknown sources.
SAFETY AND HELP
Police remind the public to safely dispose of prescription medications. In Prescott Valley, they may be deposited in the pharmacy department at Walgreen Drugs, 2880 N. Centre Court (pills only) or at the PVPD, 7601 E. Skoog Blvd.
In Prescott, drop-off locations include the Yavapai County Sheriff's Office, 255 E. Gurley St. (pills only); Yavapai College Campus Police, 1100 E. Sheldon St. (pills only); the YCSO in Williamson Valley, 4155 W. Outer Loop Road (pills only); or the Prescott Police Department at 222 S. Marina St.
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Gordon added that if you or someone you know has a drug problem, there are options available for you.
The Northern Arizona Crisis Line 877-756-4090 is available 24/7.
Additional information is available from matforce.org and justicementalhealth.com.
Information provided by the AP, Prescott Valley Police and The Daily Courier.
Editor's Note - this article has been updated to fix a quote from Traces Gordon of the PVPD. The correct word should have been 'contributing' factor.
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