Arizona Making Progress In Fight Against the Opioid Epidemic

Arizona Is Changing The Culture Around Opioids

PHOENIX – A year and a half after the Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS) released the Arizona Opioid Action Plan, Arizona is making significant progress in the fight against opioid abuse.

In 2017, Governor Doug Ducey declared the opioid epidemic a statewide health emergency. That action culminated in a law signed in 2018 called the Arizona Opioid Epidemic Act, which passed with unanimous support following a special session of the Arizona Legislature. The legislation took aggressive steps to prevent and address opioid use disorder, hold bad actors accountable, expand access to treatment, and provide life-saving resources to first responders, law enforcement, and community partners.

Since the Arizona Opioid Act became law, Arizona is working to change the culture for medical providers and patients about the proper use of opioids. Chief among them is the Arizona Pain and Addiction Curriculum that redefines pain and addiction as multidimensional public health issues. Arizona also implemented the nation’s first 24/7 free opioid assistance and referral line for providers and the public.

In addition, Arizona has seen a:

  • 13% decline in the number of filled opioid prescriptions compared to the previous year
  • 19,000 naloxone kits distributed to 116 law enforcement agencies throughout Arizona
  • 95% decrease in the number of opioid naive patients given an opioid prescription

While there is more work to be done, by starting to change the culture around opioids, Arizona is making significant progress in getting in front of the opioid epidemic.