The Page Police Department announced last week it had made several drug-related arrests at the Canyon Lake Apartments located on Fourth Avenue.
The first arrests occurred on June 29 and are as follows: Jerome Clitso, 42, of Page, arrested for DUI; 37-year-old Pete Diaz of Page, arrested for a warrant; Leland Tom, 40, of Page, also arrested for an outstanding warrant; and 34-year-old Letisha Begay of Page – arrested for a warrant, promoting prison contraband, and possession of drug paraphernalia.
A second series of arrests occurred on the morning of July 5 and include 38-year-old Sharlene Todakozie of Page – arrested for possession of drug paraphernalia; 59-year-old Michael Gill of Page, arrested for facilitation of dangerous drug possession; and Viola Thompson, 25, of Kaibeto, who was arrested for a warrant.
A resident who has lived at Canyon Lake for several years but wished to remain anonymous told the Chronicle she has seen consistent drug activity for more than a year at the small apartment complex.
The apartments have historically been prioritized for senior citizens, she said, but an influx of new tenants has brought in a “less than savory crowd.”
The resident, who is also a military veteran, said her biggest concern has been the other elderly residents at the apartments have recently begun fearing for their safety.
“I feel like we’ve earned a right to a peaceful retirement and peace of mind. I don’t think that’s too much to ask,” she concluded.
The Page Police Department couldn’t provide further details on the arrests nor the type of drugs being distributed, as they are part of an ongoing investigation.
Earlier in June, Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey officially declared opioid and prescription drug abuse a statewide public health crisis.
Close to 800 Arizona residents died of opioid-related overdoses in 2016 alone. In the last week of June 2017, the Arizona Department of Public Health Services reported that 15 Arizonans perished from opioid-related complications and 191 overdoses were treated at state hospitals. Because opioids are powerful central nervous system depressants, deaths due to opioid overdose often involve respiratory or heart system failure.
A highly potent synthetic opioid called fentanyl has also resurfaced throughout the country in the last three years. Perhaps most well known as the drug that killed Prince, fentanyl has been called “the serial killer of drugs” by some health officials, citing its ability to cross the blood-brain barrier far easier than common opioids like morphine or oxycodone.
Last week, a Tucson woman was treated for a fentanyl overdose, but recovered. As little as 2 mg of the substance is suspected to be enough to cause an overdose in some people.
Many state health agencies have sprung initiatives to educate the public on the signs and dangers of opioid abuse. Movements within the healthcare industry to significantly curb opioid prescriptions have markedly lowered the amount of prescriptions handed out each year. However, some experts believe this has left a vacuum among those people who became addicts after obtaining a legal prescription from their doctor, leading many to turn to the black market to get their fix.
Measures at the state level to fund and explore non-narcotic pain treatment options also gained steam earlier in 2017. Ducey also signed an executive order earlier this year that will provide addiction treatment options for inmates in Arizona prisons.
Naloxone, the live-saving substance that can reverse opioid side effects during an overdose when injected, is being distributed en masse to public spheres in many areas of the country.
The Page Police Department has stated it is training all of its officers on identifying signs of opioid overdose and how to deliver naloxone as well.