Arizona officials issue new guidance for battling opioid epidemic
PHOENIX — Arizona could soon implement new rules and regulations for administering pain medication in an effort to combat the state’s opioid epidemic.
A new report from the Arizona Department of Health Services detailed 12 recommendations that will “serve as a catalyst to reducing deaths from opioids in Arizona,” the report said.
Dr. Cara Christ, director of the Arizona Department of Health Services, said the recommendations range from “legislative solutions, to task forces of experts designed to address a specific item, or resources that we can implement to help provide services and additional resources in the community.”
The report was released Wednesday, nearly three months to the date when Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey issued a public health emergency declaration in response to data that found nearly two Arizonans die every day from opioids.
Numbers from the Arizona Department of Health Services released in June showed 790 people in the state died last year from an opioid overdose, a 16 percent increase from 2015.
As part of the declaration, the state department of health services was required to submit a report of the “accomplished activities and identify recommendations for combating the opioid epidemic in Arizona.”
Christ said some of the legislative proposals that the department is recommending is “limiting initial fills for those people that have not been on opioids before or at least within a recent time period to five days.”
“One of the recommendations is to submit a legislative package,” she said. “That addresses prescribing requirements, promoting safe prescribing and dispensing, decreasing the risk opioid use disorder and improving access to treatment.”
Some of the other recommendations include increased educational efforts for prescribers, using technology to prevent fraudulent prescriptions, limiting or tapering down dosages and regulating pain management clinics.
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