The Arizona Opioid Assistance and Referral Line Will Provide Real-Time Clinical Consultation
PHOENIX — The Arizona Department of Health Services and Arizona’s Poison and Drug Information Centers are launching one of the nation’s first real-time, comprehensive hotlines for healthcare providers seeking consultation for complex patients with pain and opioid use disorder. The free hotline, the Arizona Opioid Assistance and Referral Line, will be operated 24 hours a day seven days a week and answered by medical experts at Arizona’s Poison and Drug Information Centers to provide support to medical providers about a wide array of opioid-related
“Preventing opioid overdoses and deaths in our state needs a multifaceted approach, and the new hotline is a major step forward as it will give medical providers immediate access to experts who can help to ensure safe prescribing and to identify treatment options for patients, which may or may not include opioids,” said Dr. Cara Christ, director of the Arizona Department of Health Services. “No two patients are the same and treatments vary based on individual needs, so we need to make sure we are providing tailored resources to our medical community. We are excited to partner with Arizona’s Poison and Drug Information Centers to provide this resource.”
ADHS and Arizona’s Poison and Drug Information Centers are developing a new protocol that will include specific opioid-related information for providers, such as safe prescribing limits for opioid-naive patients, identification of potentially dangerous drug combinations, and chronic pain treatment options. The Arizona Opioid Assistance and Referral Line will also include information for providers caring for patients who may be suffering from opioid use disorder. The hotline is supported by funding through the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System and the Arizona Department of Health Services.
“This one of a kind resource will connect Arizona healthcare providers with subject matter experts at Arizona’s Poison Control Centers to provide them with free, real-time, reliable information and resources to support patient management,” said Dr. Dan Brooks, medical director for the Banner Poison and Drug Information Centers.“We’re thrilled to make available our network of clinical experts to assist Arizona clinicians treating patients with acute and chronic pain, acute opioid complications, or opioid withdrawal, and provide patient-specific consultation in real-time.”
ADHS and Arizona’s Poison and Drug Information Centers are currently testing the new protocols, and the Arizona Opioid Assistance and Referral Line is expected to begin taking calls in early March. The hotline will have a dedicated number that is separate from the national Poison and Drug Information Centers 800 number. The number will be sent to medical providers through the statewide Health Alert Network when it goes live. Medical providers can sign up for the Health Alert Network at han.health.azdhs.gov.
The hotline was one of the recommendations in the Opioid Action Plan developed by ADHS to respond to Arizona’s opioid epidemic. The Arizona Opioid Assistance and Referral Line will expand in the Spring of 2018 to provide referrals for the general public seeking treatment resources for opioid-use disorder.
The hotline is one of several initiatives to support Arizona prescribers and healthcare providers managing patients with chronic pain, including an update of the Arizona Opioid Prescribing Guidelines and developing a Statewide Health Educational Programs’ Curriculum to include education on pain and opioid use disorder.
To learn more about all the programs that have been launched to reduce opioid overdoses and deaths in Arizona since Governor Doug Ducey declared the epidemic a statewide public health emergency in June 2017, and to read the Opioid Action Plan, go online to azhealth.gov/opioid.