/ Modified may 19, 2020 10:09 a.m.

Fentanyl deaths rising in Pima County

32 people have died so far this year.

COVID-19 isn't the only health crisis Pima County is dealing with right now. The county health department says opioid use continues to kill people. Since the start of the year, 32 people have died from fentanyl use. It's the first time the synthetic opioid has killed more people in the county than methamphetamine.

The health department alerted health care providers Friday about the spike in overdoses. County officials say if the trend continues, fentanyl could be responsible for up to 100 deaths this year, with half of them being people in their 20s.

The department is urging people to keep all medications in a locked cabinet. It says people who use recreational drugs should carry fentanyl test strips so they can test substances. Fentanyl is very potent and is often combined with other street drugs.

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