Zinke meets with tribes in multi-day visit to Arizona

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (AP) — U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke plans to meet with tribal leaders Monday in the Phoenix area.

The Salt River-Pima Maricopa Indian Community is hosting Zinke at its new youth facility in Scottsdale. A spokeswoman for Salt River says a handful of other tribes have been invited to talk to Zinke about their priorities and self-governance.

Interior officials say Zinke later will hold a press briefing on the national opioid epidemic in American Indian communities.

The Indian Health Service says the impact is immense.

The agency’s chief medical officer told a congressional panel last week that American Indians and Alaska Natives saw a fivefold increase in overdose deaths between 1999 and 2015.

But Dr. Michael Toedt says the statistics might be more staggering because death certificates often list the wrong race.

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