It’s one of those health issues that many people aren’t comfortable talking about. But the numbers make it clear….Arizona has some work to do in the fight against opioid addiction. Our state ranked 14th nationally in drug related deaths in 2015 according to the recent America’s Health Rankings report. Cronkite News will air a documentary tomorrow night that will run on all Arizona TV stations titled: Hooked Rx: From Prescription to Addiction. You can watch a short preview of the documentary by clicking here or on the picture below.
State officials said federal funding has helped jump start awareness campaigns and drug monitoring efforts to combat the prescription drug epidemic in six of Arizona’s 15 counties.
In 2014, Arizona had the 15th highest drug overdose rate in the nation, according to a presentation from the health department. That year, about one person died every day from an overdose related to prescription opioid pain relievers.
KPNX-TV added, “The (health) department is focusing on six counties: Gila, Maricopa, Mohave, Navajo, Pima and Yavapai. State officials selected the counties based on overdose hospitalization rates and other data on prescription drug abuse.”
Cronkite News quoted Teresa Stickler, a registered pharmacist and owner of Melrose Pharmacy in Phoenix, as saying opioid addiction can happen to anyone.
“This isn’t something that’s just for those people who you think have drug addiction problems. Your neighbor on the street who looks sweet and friendly could actually have an opioid-related problem,” Stickler said. “You really need to be careful on how they take these medications.”
Arizona’s opioid addiction problem is also the focus of a summit being held in Phoenix today. AzFamily.com wrote, “The intention of the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) and Arizona High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) “is to bridge the gaps between traditionally isolated operations to collectively address this crisis and begin the process of Turning the Tide in Arizona.” The idea is that attendees will share ideas and strategize solutions to “this exploding trend in drug addiction.”
Share your thoughts on this push to get the word out about opioid addiction in our state. And let us know if you believe there is work to be done in your community. Working together to find practical, innovative solutions to the health issues facing our state will take us another step closer to our long-term goal of one day making Arizona the Healthiest State in the Nation!