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Arizona picks up $17M in 3-year funding to fight opioid crisis

(AP Photo)

PHOENIX – Arizona has been awarded $17 million in federal funding to use in the ongoing fight against the opioid crisis, it was announced Wednesday.

The state’s Department of Health Services was one of 47 across the country to receive a piece of more than $1.8 billion to expand access to treatment for overdosing and for real-time data on opioid overdosing. The money will be spread over three years.

For Arizona, that works out to $5.7 million a year.

Dr. Cara Christ, director of the department, told KTAR News 92.3 FM after the announcement that 11 county health offices would be receiving a large amount of the millions.

With that money, the offices can “set up local infrastructure (and) increase access to care for people who may be at high risk of an opioid overdose,” Christ said.

She added some of the funds would be directed to improve distribution of Naloxone kits, the emergency-use drug that counteracts opioid overdoses.

“It will also go to help with other services that we’ve put in place,” Christ said, pointing to the 24/7 Opioid Assistance and Referral Line.

The state’s Board of Pharmacy will also get a slice for its prescription drugs monitoring program.

“Our country is seeing the first drop in overdose deaths in more than two decades. More Americans are getting treatment for addiction, and lives are being saved,” Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said in a press release.

Opioids prescriptions in Arizona have dropped off 13% in the past two years.

During that time, 19,000 Naloxone kits were given to police agencies, leading to more than 7,600 opioid overdose reversals.

KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Griselda Zetino contributed to this report.

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