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DEA: Opioids in Yavapai County are top Arizona drug threat

February 24, 2021 GMT

PHOENIX (AP) — The federal Drug Enforcement Administration has designated the opioid epidemic in Yavapai County as the greatest drug threat to public health and safety in Arizona.

The DEÁ’s Phoenix Field Division on Wednesday said the designation was made under a new national strategy that allows each DEA field division to select an enforcement focus in its territory and to customize its plans accordingly.

The new strategy called “Operation Engage” replaces a previous DEA initiative that was aimed specifically at opioids nationwide, the agency said in a statement.

Opioids have ravaged Yavapai County, including the communities of Prescott, Cottonwood and Chino Valley, said Cheri Oz, special agent in charge of the Phoenix Field Division. “The opioid epidemic will continue to grow and worsen if nothing is done.”

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The new approach will save lives with a unified effort involving many Yavapai County agencies and community groups, Oz said.