The Opioid Epidemic: Where Does Arizona Stand?

The Opioid Epidemic: Where Does Arizona Stand? hover background

Jul 01

In regards to the nationwide opioid epidemic, where does Arizona stand? Recently Governor Doug Ducey of Arizona, formally ended the emergency declaration in the state also acknowledging that while we have come a long way in the past year, there is still more work to be done.

Progress has been made through the implementation of the emergency declaration last year. One of the things the state of Arizona has implemented includes outlining prescribing guidelines for Chronic Non-Terminal Pain (CNTP) for physicians. Among the guidelines outlined, includes the recommendation that patients incorporate physical therapy into their pain care plan as appropriate.

Combatting The Opioid Epidemic: Opt For Physical Therapy

The benefits of physical therapy far outweigh the risks associated with the use of opioids or painkillers. In fact, more Americans are choosing physical therapy over painkillers. In addition, physical therapy is easily accessible in the state of Arizona, as patients have direct access to a physical therapy provider, without having to receive a referral from a primary care physician to attend physical therapy.

Combatting The Opioid Epidemic: Dangers of Opioid Use

Opioids are highly addictive, powerful painkillers. Misuse of opioids has impacted the public health system significantly. Recent data published by the Arizona Department of Health Services in June 2017 shows the highest death count in the last 10 years. In addition, other statistics from June 2017 through June 2018 are staggering and include:

-1,382 suspected opioid deaths in Arizona

-8,591 suspected opioid overdoses

-809 neonatal abstinence syndrome cases documented

-19,854 naloxone doses dispensed

-5,649 naloxone doses administered

The Arizona Opioid Epidemic Act

To deal with the crisis, lawmakers of Arizona passed the Opioid Epidemic Act, despite legitimate concerns were expressed about possible consequences. The government’s approach to opioid epidemic is strict towards healthcare professionals in their guidelines.

There are two types of opioid users, those who really need it and those who do not. It will take continuous monitoring to make sure that patients who need opioids for pain control suffer less, since the regulations passed by the state was inspired by people who abuse the drugs.

Although the governor promised that the law includes exceptions to protect medical users, some new requirements for medical practitioners may result in longer waiting time for patients who are in need.

[Related article: Physical Therapy Helps Combat Opioid Crisis In Arizona]

The new regulation creates a regulatory and restrictive framework that prevents doctors from aggressively designed individualized plans for their patients. The potential for delay is high since doctors will be required to consult a pain management consultant who is board certified.

The new strategy however is a good start since it takes a compassionate approach towards addicts. The funding for addiction treatment is increased which will eventually reduce deaths and help people move beyond addiction. A wise approach has been chosen by Arizona with the Opioid Epidemic Act that applies a humane response towards drug abuse. Although it may create unintended complications for people who need opioids for medical reasons, officials will have to monitor and fix problems quickly.

If you or a loved one is suffering from chronic pain, physical therapy may be an effective tool for pain management for your condition. contact us for an evaluation today.


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