Opioid abuse is affecting communities all throughout America, including Arizona. During a six month stretch in 2017, close to 800 Arizonans died of opioid-related overdoses.
I applaud Governor Ducey for calling a Special Session to take “immediate and aggressive action against the opioid epidemic.” For the past few sessions, the opioid crisis has been one of my top priorities, and I am proud that earlier this week the Arizona House unanimously passed the Arizona Opioid Epidemic Act and the Governor eagerly signed it today.
The Governor laid out several main policy points, and I’m grateful to have worked with him in achieving:
- $10 million for treatment for uninsured and under insured for substance abuse treatment;
- Imposing a 5-day limit on all first fills for opioid naïve patients with appropriate exceptions for patient care;
- Cracking down on forged prescriptions by requiring e-prescribing;
- Ending dispensing of opioids by prescribers;
- Requiring all pharmacists to check the Controlled Substances Prescription Monitoring Program prior to dispensing an opioid or benzodiazepine;
- Enhancing continuing medical education for prescribers and medical students;
- Empowering prosecutors to take on opioid manufacturers that break the rules;
- And enacting a Good Samaritan law to allow bystanders to call 911 for a potential opioid overdose.
Of critical importance, was protecting your relationship with your physician and ensuring those who need treatment have uninterrupted access to the care they need. I worked hard with all stakeholders to target the reforms at combating the opioid epidemic, limiting impact to everyday interactions between you and your doctor, and protecting patients!
I remain committed to help end this crisis.
Arizona is taking action and saying no more. I thank the Governor, his staff, the state agencies involved, my fellow legislators, the physician community, the hospital community, all other medical professionals involved and those who came down to testify with their personal stories. This was truly a consensus piece of legislation that will save lives.