Opioid addictions: what's changed in year since Gov. Ducey declared crisis?

Posted at 6:15 AM, Jun 15, 2018
and last updated 2018-06-15 09:47:35-04

It has been one year since Governor Doug Ducey declared a state of emergency for the opioid crisis

That declaration allowed for agencies, like the Arizona Department of Health Services, to take action in ways they have never been able to before.

Their website tracks opioid data in real-time and shows things like the number of overdose deaths, overdoses in general, the amount of Naloxone administered or distributed, and so much more. It started tracking this data for exactly one year since June 15, 2017. 

ADHS Director Dr. Cara Christ said all of it shows them what's working and what they need to focus on to save more lives. 

"It shows where the areas impacted are, where several strategies could be implemented," Dr. Christ said. "It allows people to focus our limited resources in order to target interventions that may help to reduce opioid overdoes and deaths." 

Dr. Christ did share some positive findings so far with their opioid tracking. She said they have seen a nearly 50 percent decrease in the number of high-dose prescriptions being written for opioids. That is something they have been working on over the last year with health care providers. 

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They have also seen a 38 percent increase in the number of people being referred to get help following an overdose. 

But, Dr. Christ believes we still have a long way to go. 

She said they will continue utilizing the data to make improvements to save lives.