Stepping Up the Fight

opioid_abuseIt’s a fight Arizona cannot shy away from, and Governor Doug Ducey made that clear during his State of the State Address yesterday. The Governor is calling for a special legislative session to the deal with the opioid crisis in Arizona.

From AzCentral.com:

Gov. Doug Ducey on Monday called on the Arizona Legislature to convene a special session to pass legislation aimed at curbing the state’s opioid and heroin epidemic. 

He did not say specifically what he will seek in the way of new legislative authority to combat the crisis. But it will likely incorporate recommendations outlined in the ADHS opioid action plan released last fall.

New preliminary figures from the Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS) suggest that 716 Arizonans are believed to have died and there were nearly 5,000 suspected opioid overdoses during the last half of 2017 alone.

opioid_2017

According to the Phoenix Business Journal, “(Governor) Ducey said he wants to see more aggressive approaches to curbing painkiller addiction as well as overprescribing by doctors and clinics. “This epidemic requires a more aggressive approach. When we have four doctors, in one small, rural county of 200,000 people, prescribing 6 million opioid pills in just one year – 6 million – something has gone terribly, terribly wrong,” Ducey said referring to report on pain killer prescriptions in Mohave County.

Arizona Hospital and Healthcare Association (AzHHA) President & CEO Greg Vigdor applauded the Governor’s efforts to battle our state’s opioid crisis.

gv“We commend the Governor for his leadership on this critical issue and look forward to learning more about proposed changes in state law he intends to pursue in the coming days.”

“Opioid abuse is one of the most significant public health threats facing Arizona. Hospitals across our state are on the front lines of this crisis, which is why the Arizona Hospital and Healthcare Association supported Governor Ducey last year in his declaration of a public health emergency related to opioid abuse.”

Although the Governor did not get into the specifics about what he will ask the legislature to do to battle opioids in our state, U.S. News & World Report wrote, “The legislation is expected to include a limit on the first fill of narcotic drugs from doctors and dentists, stopping doctors from dispensing drugs, requiring pharmacists to check a prescription database and enacting a “Good Samaritan” law allowing bystanders to call 911 for help without fear of arrest. “Our package will attack this issue from all angles, while protecting individuals who suffer from chronic pain, and maintaining compassion for those struggling with addiction,” he (Governor Ducey) said.”

Share your thoughts on the Governor’s new plan to step up the fight against opioid abuse in our state. Do you think new laws and more aggressive rules will make a difference? Generating meaningful dialogue around the health issues making is another way we are working toward our long-term goal of one day making Arizona the Healthiest State in the Nation!

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