Legislature shoots to pass bill package in 3 days
By Howard Fischer | Capitol Media Services via Arizona Capitol Times
State lawmakers begin working Monday on a bipartisan plan that state officials hope will make a significant dent in opioid addiction, abuse and deaths in Arizona.
“In 2016, more than two Arizonans died each day due to an opioid overdose,” Dr. Cara Christ, the state’s health director, said at a ceremony where Gov. Doug Ducey signed a proclamation for a special legislative session to confront the issue.
“Since 2012, we’ve seen an increase of 74 percent in opiod-related deaths,” she continued. “Drug overdoses kill more Arizonans than car accidents.”
The proposal contains money designed to help provide treatment for those who are addicted. The state already does some of that through its Medicaid program. This package contains $10 million for those whose income leaves them unqualified for that.
But the governor said the measure also has a strong element designed to prevent addiction in the first place. That’s built around a five-day limit on how much opioids doctors can prescribe to patients who have not been on the drug for at least 60 days.