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Opioid abuse is a serious problem throughout the United States. It causes substantial numbers of fatalities every year, and Arizona has a significant percentage of these deaths. Opioid abuse is an epidemic throughout the state. Opioid addictions in Arizona have led to countless dangerous, life-threatening overdoses and the numbers have been rising. Addiction can affect every aspect of a person’s life, including the workplace and personal relationships. Families of people struggling with opioid addictions can suffer, as well. Sometimes interventions are an effective option to help people recover from drug dependencies. If you or a loved one is suffering from an opioid addiction, there are addiction interventions in Arizona.
Arizona Opioid Addiction Statistics
The opioid epidemic in Arizona is a serious issue. Between June 2017 and April 2018, there were 7,144 possible opioid overdoses reported in Arizona. 16% of the possible overdoses were fatal. Although opioid addictions can and do occur in all types of people, they are slightly more common for men. Of people struggling with opioid addiction in Arizona, 59% are men and 41% are women. Maricopa County saw the largest number of overdoses at 4,383.
Opioid addictions often persist for long periods of time. It is rare that a person develops a dependency that only lasts for a short period. For this reason, 13% of the people hospitalized with a possible overdose between June of 2017 and April of 2018 had also been hospitalized in 2016 for an opioid-related issue. Of the people previously hospitalized for an opioid-related cause, 14% died from their recent overdose.
The frequency of overdoses led emergency medical services, law enforcement, and others to administer 4,720 doses of Naloxone, a drug used to reverse the effects of overdoses, outside of the hospital between June 2017 and this April. Of all the counties in Arizona, only Greenlee county had no cases where Naloxone was used. Not counting the fatalities, 86% of the possible opioid overdoses received Naloxone outside of the hospital. Pharmacies distributed 12,406 Naloxone kits to the public in the same period of time.
The number of possible opioid overdoses reported weekly over six months has ranged from 103 to 270, with the month of September showing the highest weekly number of possible overdoses. The vast majority of the possible overdoses happened at people’s homes or apartments.
Arizona opioid addictions are not only affecting the ones struggling with addiction. Drug use of any kind can have a debilitating impact on babies, if the user is pregnant. Between June and this April, 687 Arizona babies had possible drug-related withdrawal symptoms when they were born.
Arizona Opioid Epidemic Act
In January 2018, Arizona governor Doug Ducey released the Arizona Opioid Epidemic Act. It was designed to help reduce the number of opioid-related deaths and get control of the epidemic. Law enforcement, medical professionals, pharmacists, community leaders, chronic pain sufferers, substance abuse treatment experts, and elected officials of the Republican and Democratic parties all worked together to create the legislation. The act outlines ways to help reduce the opioid epidemic such as expanding treatment, improving enforcement and oversight, preventing addiction, and reversing overdoses.
The Governor is aiming to provide more resources to professionals to combat the epidemic and hoping that the new act will hold people more accountable while also giving support to people struggling with addiction who need help.
Politicians from all around the country are applauding the act and the Governor’s steps to help reduce the opioid epidemic. Many people have accentuated the fact that battling opioid addiction is not solely a Republican or Democratic venture; people from all parties need to work together to reduce the number of people who are negatively impacted by opioid addiction.
The Arizona Opioid Epidemic Act was preceded by around 50 meetings around the state that politicians and advocates held in order to gain more widespread support and create awareness about the prevalence of the issue. Some of the specific proposals that the act currently has included:
- Finding gaps in and offering better access to treatment for all Arizona residents
- Increasing access to Naloxone for law enforcement officers
- Holding guilty parties accountable for their actions to support the opioid use
- Improving medical education for professions that involve prescribing or dispensing opioids
- Endorsing a Good Samaritan law that allows people to call 911 for a possible overdose
- Intensifying regulations around forged prescriptions
- Requiring pharmacists to verify names from the Controlled Substances Prescription Monitoring Program before giving anyone opioids
- Limiting dosage levels and the initial amount of an opioid prescription to five days
Along with the aforementioned proposals, the act contains many exemptions and exceptions for people who are suffering from chronic pain, cancer patients, trauma victims, burn patients, hospice patients, and people receiving medically-assisted care for substance use.
Compassionate Care from Family First Intervention
If you have a family member that is suffering from drug addiction in Tucson, Arizona, intervention is possible, and there are things you can do to help. Family First Intervention, having helped many families struggling with addiction, understands how important family is both in everyday life and especially in overcoming addiction,. Families also suffer when a loved one has a drug addiction. Addiction damages relationships and inhibits trust. Family First Intervention focuses on helping people struggling with addiction as well as supporting the family through their addiction and recovery. If you are feeling helpless, hopeless, and do not know where to turn, Family First Intervention can help.