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Opioid Plan Aims To Restrict Prescribing, Protect Arizona Patients

Governor Ducey’s Opioid Plan Aims To Restrict Prescribing, Protect Arizona Patients

By  Will Stone

Published: Monday, January 22, 2018 – 11:16am
Updated: Monday, January 22, 2018 – 1:18pm
 

Jay Fleming knows what life is like without his pain medication. He tried it not that long ago.

“I’d hobble around the house hanging on to furniture to try and get around,” Fleming said. “It really affected my quality of life.”

Fleming, a former police officer, lives in the remote, outer reaches of northwest Arizona with his wife and their family of dobermans. He’s been taking opioids for decades ever since a failed back surgery for a herniated disc.

This trial run of getting off the medication, he said, confirmed just how much he still depends on it.

“Most people use them to get out and do things. They don’t sit home and get high,” he said. “It’s their freedom.”

Fleming sees a pain specialist regularly. His prescriptions are tracked and he’s drug tested.

But as alarm over the opioid crisis grows louder, Fleming fears those suffering from chronic pain who have been on opioids for years could become collateral damage.

“I am afraid they are going to restrict them too much. You can only go to a pharmacy and be treated like a drug addict, by your pharmacy, by everyone who knows you take that kind of medicine,” Fleming said. “You can only deal with that stuff so long.”

It’s one of the central challenges policymakers face as they get to work crafting new laws to address the epidemic of opioid abuse and overdose deaths — how to protect legitimate patients while still getting tough on overprescribing?

Governor Ducey’s New Plan

This week, Gov. Doug Ducey and lawmakers will convene a special session to pass a slew of laws aimed at everything from expanding treatment to reducing the supply of pills.

“Our package will attack this issue from all angles, while protecting individuals who suffer from chronic pain, and maintaining compassion for those struggling with addiction,” Ducey declared in his state of the state address earlier this month.

Ducey’s plan already has the backing of the state’s Democratic and Republican leadership, but it’s still unclear how much pushback will come from doctors and their patients.

In a letter to the state last year, the Arizona Medical Association and Arizona Osteopathic Association expressed concerns about restricting prescribing too much, saying that could hamstring doctors with complex patients.

“One of the things we don’t want to do is get in between the doctor-patient relationship,” said Republican Representative Regina Cobb of Kingman.

Cobb, who is vice chair of the House health committee, said more regulations are necessary, but she thinks they must be targeted and based on accurate data.

Cobb is a practicing dentist and knows these challenges firsthand. She recently received her report card from Arizona’s controlled substance monitoring program, a database providers must use every time they prescribe.

“Not all this is accurate,” Cobb said. “I know what mine is. It says it is higher than what I have done. So rushing through legislation without knowing we are correct is going to be difficult to do.”

New prescribing rules are a significant part of the governor’s plan. It would restrict the first fill of opioids for patients who have never taken them to five days’ worth and end paper prescriptions. Most doctors would also be prohibited from dispensing opioids on-site and above 90 morphine milligram equivalent (MME), a level at which federal guidelines recommend extreme caution when prescribing.

“I think there need to be some things addressed. I just don’t want to be going too far. What I have seen from the proposals is that it’s mainly directing at limiting the doctors,” Cobb said. “That’s not all the problem.”

State numbers show heroin was involved in overdoses just as much as oxycodone in the past six months.

The governor’s plan would set aside $10 million for treatment and establish a 911 Good Samaritan law to protect people from prosecution who call to report an overdose.

Senator David Bradley, a Democrat from Tucson, said it’s unfortunate that doctors will have to deal with more rules, “but unfortunately when someone in your profession does something like this, everyone suffers.”

“My response is too bad,” Bradley said. “If it becomes burdensome and people are suffering, we don’t want that to happen and over time we could make adjustments.”

A Focus On Prevention

Dr. Cara Christ, director of the Arizona Department of Health Services, said the proposed regulations are focused on prevention, which is why patients with prescriptions right now would not be affected by them.

“We are not tapering them down,” Christ said, “because we understand we don’t want to push people to illicit unregulated drugs.”

Christ said the state has worked extensively with the medical community to design prescribing guidelines and that doctors will still have the flexibility to treat patients who need the medicine. There would be exceptions for trauma, cancer and hospice patients, among others, and pain specialists would not be subject to the rules.

“We are not trying to limit responsible use of the medication. We just want to try to prevent people from developing a lifelong chronic disease,” Christ said, referring to substance use disorder.

Since June — when the governor declared a public health emergency — about 40 percent of those who overdosed in Arizona had nine or more prescriptions filled in the past year. Chronic pain was also the most common pre existing medical condition for those who overdosed.

Christ said such findings show the need for more oversight.

“We completely understand there is a majority of physicians that are acting responsibly and we want them to still have the tools that they need to treat their patients,” she said. “It’s really the prescribers who are overprescribing to make a profit and are just not using reasonable care.”

The number of prescriptions in Arizona has been going down gradually in recent months, but Christ said it will take years before Arizona sees the true effect of its prevention efforts.

 

Original Source: https://kjzz.org/content/596247/ducey-opioid-plan-aims-restrict-prescribing-protect-arizona-patients

Further Reading: http://kjzz.org/arizonas-opioid-crisis

Arizona Opioid Epidemic Act Outlines Comprehensive Solutions

News Release

January 19, 2018
 

Plan Is The Result Of A Months-Long Citizen And Stakeholder Engagement Process

PHOENIX – Governor Doug Ducey today, in conjunction with legislative leaders of both parties, released the Arizona Opioid Epidemic Act, a comprehensive and bipartisan legislative package aimed at combating the opioid epidemic and saving lives. The legislation, a result of collaboration between medical professionals, law enforcement, community leaders, chronic pain sufferers, pharmacists, substance abuse treatment experts, elected officials of both parties and more, takes a comprehensive approach to addressing the opioid epidemic through areas like expanding treatment, improving enforcement and oversight, preventing addiction, and reversing overdoses.   

“This legislation combats the opioid epidemic from all angles,” said Governor Ducey. “It holds bad actors accountable and gets more resources to our medical professionals, law enforcement, and treatment providers, while showing compassion to those struggling with addiction and protecting those suffering from chronic pain. I am pleased to see the bipartisan support for these important initiatives, and thank everyone at the Legislature and all the stakeholders and partners involved for coming together on these solutions. We must act with urgency, and I look forward to working with members of the Legislature to pass this legislation.”

“I look forward to working with Governor Ducey and my colleagues at the Legislature in addressing the opioid crisis,” said Senate President Steve Yarbrough. “This merits our undivided attention to ensure that we pass a comprehensive package that curtails out-of-control prescribing activity and gives focus to treatment and prevention. Far too many people have suffered the consequences of addiction. It’s important to act expediently.”

“This is an important first step in addressing the devastating opioid epidemic in Arizona,” said Senate Minority Leader Katie Hobbs. “We’re pleased that Governor Ducey incorporated many of our ideas into this legislation, especially the commitment of real dollars to provide treatment for those who are opioid addicted but don’t qualify for AHCCCS or private insurance. We won’t win this battle with one bill, so it’s critical that we build upon this over time to break the systemic causes of addiction.”

“I’m pleased that Governor Ducey and legislators from both parties have come together to ensure Arizonans get the tools they need to combat our opioid epidemic,” said Speaker of the House J.D. Mesnard. “The Arizona Opioid Epidemic Act will get the urgent consideration it needs in the Legislature, and I’m confident it will receive broad support in the process.”

“There is no explicitly Republican or Democratic solution to a crisis like this, so we appreciate the opportunity to help shape a plan that will save lives in all of the communities we represent,” said House Democratic Leader Rebecca Rios. “We all recognize that more work will need to be done once the bill has passed, but this shows that when we work together the result is good policy that benefits all Arizonans. Because the Governor included Democrats early on, we were able to bring the incredible in-depth healthcare policy experience that exists among our members and staff to the table to help ensure this plan has a real and immediate impact.”

The introduction of the Arizona Opioid Epidemic Act follows a months-long effort to engage stakeholders and members of the public, including approximately 50 meetings held throughout Arizona. Using this input and after conducting a 50-state review of opioid-related policies, the Arizona Department of Health Services issued an Opioid Action Plan in September 2017, which included recommendations to reduce opioid misuse, promote safe prescribing and dispensing, and improve access to treatment. Those recommendations inform many of the proposals contained in today’s legislative package.

Specific policy proposals include:

  • Identifying gaps in and improving access to treatment, including for uninsured or underinsured Arizonans, with a new $10 million investment;
  • Expanding access to the overdose reversal drug Naloxone for law enforcement or corrections officers currently not authorized to administer it;
  • Holding bad actors accountable by ending pill mills, increasing oversight mechanisms, and enacting criminal penalties for manufacturers who defraud the public about their products;
  • Enhancing continuing medical education for all professions that prescribe or dispense opioids;
  • Enacting a Good Samaritan law to allow people to call 911 for a potential opioid overdose;
  • Cracking down on forged prescriptions by requiring e-prescribing;
  • Requiring all pharmacists to check the Controlled Substances Prescription Monitoring Program prior to dispensing an opioid or benzodiazepine;
  • And limiting the first-fill of an opioid prescription to five days for all opioid naïve patients and limiting dosage levels to align with federal prescribing guidelines. These proposals contain important exemptions to protect chronic pain suffers, cancer, trauma or burn patients, hospice or end-of-life patients, and those receiving medication assisted treatment for substance use disorder.

ORIGINAL SOURCE: https://azgovernor.gov/governor/news/2018/01/arizona-opioid-epidemic-act-outlines-comprehensive-solutions

Giving Tuesday – A Global Day of Giving

Giving Tuesday is right around the corner!

Giving Tuesday was created to unite us all in a day of generosity, to make a difference in the world any way we choose at the start of this busy holiday season. 

Celebrated on the Tuesday following Thanksgiving (in the U.S.) and the widely recognized shopping events Black Friday and Cyber Monday, Giving Tuesday kicks off the charitable season, when many focus on their holiday and end-of-year giving.

One of the best ways to get involved is in your own community – Join the Giving Tuesday movement by supporting ViVRE today with the gift of your time, talent, or treasure!

Art of Recovery Expo Video

Click image for the Art of Recovery Expo 2017 info video

This years Art of Recovery Expo will have thousands of participants- it is a free event and we are proud to participate. This year we have committed to volunteer and do service work. Look for our team of men and women residents in the ViVRE t-shirts helping out at the event. Find Coach Carl giving a presentation about his fitness program “Fit Four Life” and see keynote speaker Austin Eubanks – a 1999 Columbine survivor who’s injuries got him addicted to opioids and led him to an amazing path to recovery. We do recover! Come see our amazing staff with our sponsor Building Blocks Counseling at our booth. This is our fourth year participating. Go #teamvivre

more info about the event at artofrecoveryexpo.com 

Aunt Rita’s AIDS Walk 2017

We are wholeheartedly honored to announce that we will be proud participants in the Arizona 10th Anniversary Aunt Rita’s AIDS Walk 2017. ViVRE has partnered up with its sister company, Building Blocks Counseling to help raise money for the essential services and care to those affected by HIV and AIDS.

AIDS Walk Arizona & Fun Run is Arizona’s largest and only grassroots charity fundraiser in Phoenix benefiting Aunt Rita’s Foundation and our 16 Agency Partners that provide prevention education, testing, and essential services to those affected by HIV and AIDS. Over the past decade, AIDS Walk Arizona has inspired tens of thousands of people to walk and donate, raising over a million dollars to combat HIV and AIDS. These funds remain a vital lifeline sustaining the prevention, care and advocacy programs Aunt Rita’s Foundation and our 16 Partner Agencies provide for the thousands of men, women, and families affected by the disease in Metro Phoenix.

DONATE/VOLUNTEER

Do you want to make a difference? Would you like to be a part of someone’s success story?

donate charitable cause relief purpose charity support

ViVRE is a Federally certified recognized 501 (c) (3) charitable origination. Unlike many organizations most of ViVRE money goes into direct services. We are saving lives and families. You can help with a small donation.

You could make a difference in someone’s life today by making a financial donation to an amazing nonprofit organization.

ViVRE’s 90 day program is specially designed for the reentry population. We provide quality housing to help people at risk, transition back into society. We have a clean and sober positive structured environment and because we are a nonprofit, we accept all clients regardless of their ability to pay.

Our supporters and volunteers come from all walks of life, ages and economic and social demographics.

Find your way to help ViVRE by donating your time and/or financial contribution.

Give happily and know that your blessings will multiply as you share with those in need. It’s the little things in life that tend to add up in a big way.   

ViVRE needs more than money to further our mission:  “to provide quality housing to help people at risk, transition back into society.”  Our men and women are tremendously supported by you tax deductible donations of clothing, extra food, bottled water and your professional expertise–  we are always looking for volunteers you can donate your time to help them learn budgeting, resume writing, and other special knowledge you may want to donate.

 Donations can be brought to our corporate offices at 4225 W Glendale Phoenix, AZ 85051.  Sometimes a driver can pick up donations as well Call our programs liaison Josh Hamilton at 602-626-8112 .  Thank you for helping us further our mission.

Our Women of ViVRE Volunteer Leaders

By 26th August, 2017 charity, ViVRE, volunteer No Comments

ViVRE means – to live.  Our residents are thriving, this week four of them were awarded certificates for going beyond the expected community service.  All our women stand out as leaders in volunteerism.   

Team ViVRE and The Art of Recovery Expo

Team ViVRE and the Art of Recovery Expo

17 hours ago

T up for treatment #artofrecovery

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2 days ago
Colbert Links Big Pharma's Sackler Family To America's Opioid Crisis

no joke #opioidcrisis #recoverymonth

Stephen takes a sober look at the family behind Purdue Pharma, the company that unleashed OxyContin on the world and now looks poised to make even more profi...

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5 days ago
Photos from ViVRE's post

Come join us Saturday, September 22, for another amazing year at CARE!! Learn something new and be inspired!! #RECOVERYREADY #CBICare ! #ARTofRecovery #RecoveryMonth #ViVRE #RecoveryHousing ... See more

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1 week ago
Check out BBC & ViVRE's team fundraising page for Aunt Rita's Foundation

We are composed of dignity, diversity, empathy, innovation and integrity with a mission to empower people and inspire growth by transforming lives and communities one day at a time

#AIDSWALKS2018 ... See more

We are composed of dignity, diversity, empathy, innovation and integrity with a mission to empower people and inspire growth by transforming lives and communities one day at a time

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September is National Recovery Month!

ViVRE will be attending The Lights of Hope Event which will be held on September 16th. This event is our opportunity and our right to honor and support our ... See more

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2 weeks ago

If you or someone you know is in need of services, let our experts guide you in the right direction. Please call our main office at 602-626-8112 or visit our website at www.bbcaz.com for more ... See more

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Do you know someone who has been seeking SUD outpatient services? Are they between the ages of 18-99 yrs old?! Let our experts at BBC AZ guide you in the right direction. Contact us today at ... See more

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🇺🇸 Happy Labor Day from all of us at ViVRE 🇺🇸
#LaborDay2018

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3 weeks ago
4th Annual Lighting Arizona Purple Event

Let's paint the town purple for domestic violence awareness Month in October

In recognition of Domestic Violence Awareness Month, the Governor’s Office of Youth, Faith and Family will host the 2018 Lighting Arizona Purple event. Governor Doug Ducey will light the Capitol ... See more

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1 month ago
Photos from ViVRE's post

We are so excited for another fun year at The Art of Recovery Expo!! For event information, please visit:

www.celebratetheartofrecovery.org

#Celebrate #ARTofRecovery #Recovery #Expo ... See more

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Art of Recovery Expo 2017

 

This year is our fourth year participating in the Art of Recovery Expo.  We our proud to be a part of what is the largest regional event all about recovery.  There couldn’t be a more important time to come together in the middle of this opioid epidemic. More information on the State’s efforts to combat this and the angel initiative which we participate go to substanceabuseaz.gov

ViVRE will have a booth next to our association –  AzRHA again this year.  

Our Volunteer coordinator Coach Carl Hargrave will be giving a presentation and many of our residents and staff will be available to do community service work and join in the fun at this year’s expo.  For more information, stay tuned to the Team ViVRE thread of Art of Recovery, check out our ViVRE Housing youtube channel  and of course go to artofrecoveryexpo.com  for full details.