Countering Opiate Addiction in Arizona

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published new figures on the opioid addiction crisis, saying the number of visits as a result of an overdose in hospital emergency rooms has risen sharply last year, the latest evidence of a worsening drug crisis in the country.

Opiate Addiction Related Deaths in Arizona Have Surged

Heroin and prescription opioid use resulted in a 20%  increase in the number of deadly overdose cases in Arizona compared with 2016. This troubling figure coincides with the efforts of the state to deal with what the authorities continue to qualify as a full-fledged “crisis.”

A total of 949 people in Arizona died of overdose caused by opioids in 2017, the Arizona Department of Health Services stated in a report released this month. This represents an increase of 20.1 % than 2016’s finalized tally of 800 deaths and more than twice as many deaths as 2012’s total of 454.

In the past five years, heroin accounted for 51% of the Arizona epidemic, health officials said. Heroin killed 344 people in 2017 up from 311 in 2016 and accounts for 36% of overdose deaths from opioids.

According to the report, prescription and synthetic opioids accounted for 605 deaths last year, up from 489 in 2017. In the event that this trend continues, officials warned, more than 1,000 people will suffer this year from a fatal overdose of opioids.

Steps to Confront the Opiate Crisis in Arizona

Due to the dramatic rise in opiate addiction related deaths in Arizona, legislators are shifting their attention and resources to confront the crisis. “Arizona faces an opioid crisis, the numbers are astounding,” ADHS director Dr. Cara Christ told a press conference with Governor Doug Ducey and members of the Arizona Public Safety Department on Monday.

She highlighted “significant and measurable progress” in terms of the patient recommendation to behavioral health or substance abuse treatment after an overdose, which increased from 45% in 2017 to 73% in 2018. In addition, the number of opioid prescriptions filled in the pharmacies in Arizona reduced by 40 % in one year, and the number of opioid tablets distributed decreased 43%.

While the numbers were troubling, the results of the legislation, which includes the Arizona OPIOID Epidemic Act, continue to improve the situation, officials said.

At a news conference, Christ and Ducey praised the police for adopting Naloxone programs and paid tribute to the DPS detective who used Narcan last week to help redirect the overdose he worked in the Cochise district.

DHS plans to launch a chronic pain treatment program in the near future, and the state will begin licensing pain management clinics in 2019. It also plans to monitor its real-time “surveillance data” based on healthcare providers and first responders to report suspected of overdoses.

How to Get Help

If you or someone you love is struggling with opiate addiction, Suboxone treatment can help. Suboxone contains a synthetic opioid that produces a weaker euphoric effect than heroin or prescription opiates. This allows the user to reduce or eliminate the symptoms of withdrawal and can make the path to recovery much easier.

To learn more about Suboxone treatment in the Scottsdale and Phoenix area, call (480) 588-6924 to make an appointment or visit our page on Suboxone Treatment Therapy.

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