Phoenix firefighters see impact of opioid crisis on a daily basis

On average, more than two Arizonans die every day from an opioid overdose, and Governor Doug Ducey has declared the opioid addiction crisis in the state a public health emergency.

The addiction crisis is seen by firefighters in Phoenix. Besides battling flames, they are also on the front lines of the epidemic. Every day, they get called to a scene where a person is found unconscious or incoherent.

On Thursday, crews were called out to treat a man for overdose. The man has reportedly been treated several times before. For the crew, they respond to so many of these types of calls on a daily basis, they can easily tell what drug the person was taking.

Now, Gov. Ducey is requiring first responders, healthcare providers, and medical examiners to report an overdose to the state within 24 hours, in an effort to collect accurate, real-time data.

"Right now, the Coroner's Office is the one that's tracking overdoses," said Phoenix Fire Department EMS Division Chief Joel Navarro. "What the state is asking for is the Phoenix Fire Department to be able to report the times we administer Narcan. May not be a deadly overdose, but it's an overdose and we have to administer Narcan."

Narcan is the life saving drug administered to overdose patients, which reverses the effects of the overdose. In addition to reporting, Gov. Ducey's efforts to fight the opioid epidemic include cracking down on prescribers, and providing more access to rehab. It's the beginning of a statewide effort - to prevent more people, from ending up overdosing.