Five days of opioids is all a new patient would get. This is if Arizona Governor Doug Ducey’s new, sweeping guidelines are approved by the state legislature.
The governor has been vocal in wanting to address Arizona’s growing opioid use crisis. His new plan unveiled by the Arizona Department of Health Services offers a comprehensive approach to dealing with the drug problem.
– Limiting new patients to a five-day supply of prescription pain medication.
– Limiting maximum dosages for pain medication
– Requiring steps for tapering pain medications with patients
– Requiring doctors to file pain prescriptions electronically, to limit diversion of medications.
The new opioid action plan by the state seeks tackle the problem in multiple ways. First, is to reduce the number of opioid-related deaths. It also aims to improve the process for prescribing and dispensing prescription drugs. Next, is to cut down on illegal acquisition and diversion of opioids. Other goals are to increase awareness of the issue, and improve access to treatment.
Governor Ducey also aims to regulate pain-management practices. Plus, it would require pharmacists to additional precautionary measures. According to his plan, they would be required to check a database before filling every opioid or benzodiazepine prescription.
In early June 2017, the governor officially signed an emergency declaration specifically to address the growing number of opioid deaths in Arizona. In the state’s report, 790 Arizonans died from opioid overdoses in 2016. The alarming statistic marked a 74 percent rise in just four years.
Governor Ducey said at the time, “As the number of opioid overdoses and deaths increase at an alarming rate, we must take action. It’s time to call this what it is — an emergency…I’m declaring a statewide health emergency because we need to know more about the epidemic, including enhanced data that illustrates when and where these overdoses occur so that we can develop real, targeted solutions.”