PHOENIX — The Arizona Department of Health Services has received a $505,104 grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that will be used to enhance efforts to address the opioid epidemic in Arizona. The new funding is a supplement to the $3.6 million CDC Prescription Drug Overdose Prevention for States Grant awarded to ADHS in September 2015.
The funding is being used to implement the strategies in the Arizona Prescription Drug Misuse and Abuse Initiative. The strategies encourage responsible prescribing and dispensing policies and practices, increase assessment and referral to treatment, and enhance public awareness. The grant is supporting the development of education for prescribers, enhancing the Arizona Controlled Substances Prescription Monitoring Program, and facilitating the implementation of prevention strategies at the local level through six county health departments.
“This additional funding will allow us to expand community and statewide interventions aimed at preventing prescription drug overdose and abuse,” said Dr. Cara Christ, director of the Arizona Department of Health Services. “We have made steady progress on addressing the opioid epidemic in our state, but we have a lot of work to do. The additional funding will help us address critical issues that are contributing to this crisis.
Governor Doug Ducey signed an emergency declaration on June 5 that directs ADHS to address the growing number of opioid deaths. ADHS staff are working with community partners to implement enhanced surveillance of suspected overdoses and deaths. ADHS also expanded the training and use of the life-saving drug naloxone, which can reverse an overdose. Nearly 1,000 first responders have been trained since June, and ADHS is providing free naloxone to law enforcement agencies. More than 900 doses of naloxone have been administered by emergency responders and more than 991 naloxone kits have been distributed to the public in pharmacies.
The ADHS Office of Injury Prevention is working with the CDC to finalize the plan for the supplemental grant funding. The money is expected to be available in September. More details on the funding plan will be available at a later date.