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Arizona congresswoman: Anti-opioid bills would help residents combat addictions

(AP Photo/Fernando Vergara)

PHOENIX — One Arizona representative argued that a package of proposed drug bills will help residents in southern Arizona combat an opioid addiction that has run rampant through the area.

The U.S. Congress is considering nearly 20 bills that would give communities money to help combat addictions. Rep. Martha McSally (R-AZ) said the bills would help residents in Pima County.

McSally said the county had an overdose rate that was nearly double compared to other Arizona counties, based on a recent analysis. She also claimed that the analysis found the state had the 10th-highest overdose rate in the country.

Meanwhile, Arizona is ramping up its fight against opioids.

Gov. Doug Ducey recently signed a series of bills treating or stopping opioid addiction. One allows easier access to an opioid overdose drug. The other bill requires doctors to check a state database before prescribing opiate painkillers. The only exceptions are emergencies or when treating cancer or hospice patients.

“Opioid addiction is an epidemic that’s tearing our communities apart,” McSally said. “This devastation is acutely felt by families in southern Arizona, many of whom who know all too well the pain of losing a loved one to an overdose.”

The House is set to form a conference committee with the Senate to work out legislation differences between the two chambers regarding the bills.

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