The year 2020 was a bad one for drug deaths in Yavapai County. The area saw 82 overdose deaths, a 20.5% increase compared to 68 in 2019, according to MATForce, a local drug prevention nonprofit.
However, drug experts in the area say the change seems to stem less from a particularly large increase in drug use in Yavapai County, and is more a change in what drugs people are using. Of the 82 accidental drug deaths in 2020, 42 of them — more than half — had fentanyl in their system.
“We went from 15% to over 50%. It’s so much due to fentanyl,” said Merilee Fowler, executive director of MATForce. “It’s not that heroin has gone away. Fentanyl is becoming the drug of choice. It’s 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine. It’s supply and demand. It’s a lot easier to get it into the country. It’s cheaper for drug runners to manufacture.”
“It seems like it’s the strongest drug that people have access…