PHOENIX — During his State of the State address Monday, Governor Doug Ducey called for a special session in January to pass legislation related to combating the opioid crisis.
“In the coming days and in partnership with Legislative leadership, I will caLast June, Governor Ducey declared a statewide emergency following new data from the Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS) that showed an alarming 74% increase in opioid overdoses since 2012. Over 800 Arizonans have died from an opioid overdose and nearly
Last June, Governor Ducey declared a statewide emergency following new data from the Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS) that showed an alarming 74% increase in opioid overdoses since 2012. Over 800 Arizonans have died from an opioid overdose and nearly 5,000 overdoses have occured since June 2017 alone, when the state began collecting enhanced data following an executive order issued by Governor Ducey.
The construction industry is one of the most highly affected by the epidemic. In February of 2017, Equipment World reported that:
Construction workers spend more on opioid prescriptions than any other occupational category, says Liz Griggs, chairman and CEO of Canterbury Health Care. Griggs also cites a survey from the insurance firm CNA Financial that reports the construction industry has the highest rate of opioid addiction in the country, five to 10 percent higher than the general population.
The news is filled with stories about the nation's new opioid epidemic. Part of the problem results from over-prescription of painkillers, but a more sinister development is the rise of cheap heroin.
According to the centers for Disease Control, the combination of over-prescription of pain meds, dirty doctors and their pill mills and easy-to-obtain black tar mexicn heroin has resulted in some 100 overdose deaths a day in the United states. In 2016, heroin deaths surpassed gun homicides. And opioid-related deaths of all kinds have surpassed the number of vehicl deaths in the United States as well.
In September, ADHS released its Opioid Action Plan, a comprehensive strategy that includes twelve policy recommendations to reduce illicit acquisition and diversion of opioids, promote safe prescribing and dispensing, and improve access to treatment. Specific policy proposals include:
- Imposing a 5-day limit on all first fills for opioid naïve patients for all payers;
- Cracking down on forged prescriptions by requiring e-prescribing;
- Ending dispensing of controlled substances by prescribers;
- Requiring all pharmacists to check the Controlled Substances Prescription Monitoring Program prior to dispensing an opioid or benzodiazepine;
- Enhancing continuing medical education for all professions who prescribe or dispense opioids;
- Empowering prosecutors to take on opioid manufacturers that break the rules;
- And enacting a good Samaritan law to allow bystanders to call 911 for a potential opioid overdose.
Article 4, Section 3, of the Arizona Constitution provides the governor the authority to call a special session of the Legislature in order to consider legislation that relates to specific policy issues.
For more information or assistance, contact Governor Ducey's press office: (602) 542-1342