Opioid addiction, overdoses at center of special legislative session

Legislative package sets $10M for treatment, restrictions for doctors

By  Rachel Leingang | Arizona Capitol Times

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey will call for a special session on Monday to push a spate of changes to prescription and treatment laws in an effort to confront the opioid crisis engulfing the state.

The proposal attacks the opioid epidemic on multiple levels, from adding treatment options and access for people addicted to opioids to increasing penalties and oversight for doctors who prescribe the highly addictive medications and those who manufacture the drugs.

The special session plan comes after the state reported two opioid-related deaths per day in 2016. The governor declared a public health emergency last year, which allowed for enhanced reporting and data collection.

The Arizona Department of Health Services reported that more than 800 people have died of suspected opioid overdoses since June 2017, though the agency’s director, Cara Christ, said not all of those deaths will be proven to be related to opioids. Christ said she expects deaths in 2017 to top the year before.


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