The 2016 Arizona Opioid Report is out today and the numbers are alarming. The data shows an average of two Arizonans die each day from an opioid overdose . We issued a news release highlighting the report and the threat to our community.
The information in the report shows us 790 overdose deaths last year were due to opioids as the primary cause of death, which is more than half of the 1,497 drug overdose deaths. Opioids include heroin as well prescription medication. The number of heroin deaths alone has tripled since 2012.
Opioids are powerful painkillers and they are extremely addictive. We understand people who start out using opioids for pain don’t intend on becoming addicted, let alone realize the tragic consequences that come from repeated abuse of the drug.
There are things you can do if you or someone you love are experiencing opioid issues:
- Help us educate family, friends, and others at risk of overdosing about the importance of Naloxone and the critical steps to take if overdose happens.
- Talk with your children and convince them to steer clear of drugs and alcohol by staying active with healthy alternatives to drug use.
- If you are pregnant or thinking about becoming pregnant, talk with your doctor about the medications you take.
- If you suffer from chronic pain, talk with your doctor about non-opioid treatment options for pain management.
If you have a loved one who is misusing or abusing opioids, seek help, and talk with your doctor or pharmacist about prescribing the overdose reversal drug naloxone. You could very well save that loved one’s life. There are resources are available to help people address substance abuse problems at http://substanceabuse.az.gov.