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Ducey to call special legislative session to further address opioid crisis

(AP Photo/Patrick Sison)

PHOENIX — Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey said Monday that he would call a special session of the state Legislature to further address the ongoing opioid crisis.

“Since I last stood at this podium, we’ve lost more than 800 Arizonans to opioids,” he said during his annual State of the State address.

“These are real lives and real people, gone. Someone’s mom, their dad. Daughters and sons. All ages. All incomes. Families, marriages and lives torn apart, tragically and unexpectedly because of a potent drug misprescribed, overprescribed and then, before you know it, it’s too late.”

Related: Arizona’s border task force seized 11M hits of heroin, Ducey says

Ducey said he planned to release a package of proposals designed to combat both the use, prescription and sale of opioids.

“This much I commit: All bad actors will be held accountable – whether they are doctors, manufacturers or just plain drug dealers,” he said.

Some of the proposals include a five-day pill limit for first-time patients, requiring electronic prescriptions and enacting a Good Samaritan law for those reporting overdoses.

In June, the governor declared a state health crisis after data showed there was a growing number of opioid overdose deaths in the state.

Related: Ducey wants felony punishments for wrong-way drivers in Arizona

“We’re going to do everything that we can from a government perspective here,” Ducey told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Mac & Gaydos at the time.

The declaration allowed the state to coordinate public health efforts, make more resources available and gave the state better and more immediate access to overdose and death data.

In October, the founder of a Chandler drugmaker was charged in connection with a scheme to bribe doctors to prescribe an addictive opioid.

In a release, the Department of Justice said John Kapoor, the founder and former CEO of Insys Therapeutics, was charged with racketeering, conspiracy and fraud, among others. He was arrested in Phoenix.

KTAR News’ Corbin Carson contributed to this report.

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