Order Extends Arizona's Opioid Data Collection

Since reporting began June 15, more than 1,400 suspect opioid overdoses have been reported, and 206 of those were reported deaths. The data indicate 77 percent of possible opioid overdoses had an opioid prescription prior to their recent overdose and the vast majority of overdoses occur at personal residences.

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey recently renewed an executive order in order to extend the increased reporting of opioid-related data. His initial order was issued June 13 and allows state health officials to obtain critical information within 24 hours of an opioid-related overdose or the identification of a baby with drug withdrawal symptoms. It was set to expire after 60 days, but the extension allows enhanced reporting to continuing for 60 more days or until the public health emergency ends.

During 2016, an average of more than two people per day died from opioid overdoses in Arizona.

"The real-time data that is being reported to the Arizona Department of Health Services is already making a big impact on our ability to address the opioid epidemic in our state," Ducey said when he announced the renewal. "This data is a vital resource to ADHS and other partners working to save lives and reduce the number of people in our state affected by this crisis."

Dr. Cara Christ, director of the department, said the real-time data helps it work with partners to track opioid-related events and develop life-saving interventions, such as making naloxone readily available. Almost 1,000 first responders have been trained to administer the medication since June and ADHS is providing free naloxone to law enforcement agencies that attend training. Since Ducey's order, 1,071 doses of naloxone have been administered by emergency responders and 1,086 naloxone kits have been distributed to the public from pharmacies.

"Prior to the executive order, the records we had on opioid overdoses could be more than a year old," Christ said. "That data helped us to identify the crisis in Arizona, and now with the enhanced surveillance data we are able to make recommendations that can prevent opioid overdoses and deaths."

Since reporting began June 15, more than 1,400 suspect opioid overdoses have been reported, and 206 of those were reported deaths. The data indicate 77 percent of possible opioid overdoses had an opioid prescription prior to their recent overdose and the vast majority of overdoses occur at personal residences.

A copy of the executive order and updated stats are available here.

Specific health conditions reported to ADHS as part of the enhanced surveillance include suspected opioid overdoses and deaths, naloxone doses administered in response to either condition, naloxone doses dispensed by pharmacists, and babies experiencing symptoms of neonatal abstinence syndrome. Those who are required to participate in the enhanced surveillance include licensed health care providers, administrators of a health care institution or correctional facility, EMS/ambulance (including first response agencies and ground and air ambulance services), law enforcement officers, medical examiners, and pharmacists.

On Aug. 17, Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval announced the Nevada Division of Public and Behavioral Health will be receiving more than $1.2 million in federal grant awards, supplementing $8.24 million already received by the agency as Nevada also battles the opioid epidemic. He said the new money will further his and First Lady Kathleen Sandoval's efforts by implementing the recommendations of the Prescription Drug Abuse Summit held in 2016 as well as Assembly Bill 474, passed and signed into law during the 2017 legislative session, which made changes related to reporting of drug overdoses and establishes prescribing protocols for all health care providers that are prescribing controlled substances for pain.

"The state of Nevada is fully committed to eradicating the plague of prescription drug abuse from our community. I am grateful for the continued resources we have received from our federal partners. These funds will help make it possible for Nevada to implement the many recommendations that more than 500 stakeholders identified and prioritized as a result of last year's Prescription Drug Abuse Summit," Sandoval said. "I will reconvene the stakeholders group, which included representatives from law enforcement, regulators, health care professionals and other industries who were originally tasked with the creation of the agenda for the summit, who will now ensure the state is accomplishing the set goals and objectives and, most importantly, providing services to the addicted and support for their families in order to confront and defeat this problem once and for all."

"These grant funds are integral to coordinate Nevada's response to the opioid crisis. The Nevada Department of Health and Human Services remains committed to Governor Sandoval's mission to aggressively stem the tide of prescription drug abuse, misuse, and diversion, and these grant awards will allow us to implement recently passed legislation and provide for an immediate positive impact for our citizens," said Nevada Chief Medical Officer Dr. John DiMuro.

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