The Opioid Epidemic in Tempe
Tempe, Arizona is a large city located in Maricopa County with a population of about 185,000 people. In 2016, 769 Arizonans lost their lives to an overdose on at least one opioid. Tempe’s Maricopa County suffers from more casualties from opioids than any other part of Arizona. Among the 910 fatal overdoses which occurred in Arizona in 2017, 576 overdoses occurred in Tempe and Maricopa County, and in 2018, at least 538 people, mostly men between the ages of 25 and 54, overdosed on opioids in the Tempe area. Drug traffickers have brought fentanyl, the most lethal opioid, into the Tempe drug market. In 2018, the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office arrested two men for conspiracy to distribute 8,000 fentanyl pills.
Although people in Tempe typically develop opioid dependence accidentally after taking prescribed painkillers, many opioid-addicted Tempe residents eventually begin to use heroin. Drug traffickers sometimes lace heroin with other drugs, especially with fentanyl, and create substances which subject users to very high risks of overdose. Paramedics from the Tempe Fire and Medical Rescue Department have become adept at saving lives from overdoses, which the police encourage people to report, although sometimes people die from overdoses before help arrives. To more effectively fight the opioid epidemic, Maricopa County has begun to provide addicted prisoners with Vivitrol, a drug which is supposed to suppress opioid dependence.
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Alcohol Abuse and ASU College Students
As a major college town and large city, Tempe has experienced multiple problems related to alcohol abuse. In 2017, 516 people died in Tempe and Maricopa County from cirrhosis and alcoholic liver disease. Alcohol is the most commonly-abused substance in Tempe and throughout Arizona. Since there is a large student population in Tempe, the city government and local police department have been working to reduce underage drinking. In 2016, police in Tempe arrested 371 teenagers and young adults for alcohol-related offenses, including for driving under the influence. Although Arizona State University has implemented programs to educate their students about the dangers of underage drinking, alcohol abuse remains a serious problem in Tempe with both college students and other residents.
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If you or someone you know in Tempe is struggling with drug addiction or alcohol abuse, contact a dedicated treatment provider today. Addiction can seem impossible to surmount, but anyone can overcome addiction with consistent effort and the right support. Today can be the first day of your recovery.