Welcome to Vivre Recovery Housing

SUPPORT ViVRE

7725 N. 43rd Ave. #523Phoenix, AZ 85051

8 a.m. - 5 p.m.Monday to Friday

(480) 389-4779info@vivrehousing.org

One year of Second Chance Centers in AZ

This week is the anniversary of Arizona Governor Doug Ducey’s Second Chance Centers. They are part of an initiative that provides pre-release workforce services to inmates through the Arizona Department of Corrections.

More than 800 inmates at the three centers received these services and about half of those inmates have gotten their second chance so far and became employed after release from prison.

Learn more about this story by clicking on the story from KGUN9 News:

https://www.kgun9.com/news/local-news/one-year-of-second-chance-centers-in-az

TURNING ART INTO ACTIVISM TO COMBAT THE OPIOID CRISIS

Artist Nan Goldin stages opioids protest in Metropolitan Museum Sackler Wing

New York Big Pharma demonstration sees activists dump specially made bottles in moat around Egyptian Temple of Dendur.

The artist Nan Goldin and around 100 fellow demonstrators threw pill bottles into the moat surrounding an ancient Egyptian temple at the Metropolitan Museum in New York on Saturday, to protest sponsorship by the family that owns one of the largest makers of opioids. 

The pill bottles had been labeled by the protesters to say “prescribed to you by the Sackler Family”. The Sackler family wholly owns Purdue Pharma, which makes the prescription painkiller OxyContin. In 1974, the family paid for the Sackler Wing at the Met, in which the 2,000-year-old Temple of Dendur stands.

Goldin, who recently recovered from a near-fatal addiction to OxyContin, led the protest. “Shame!” she shouted. “As artists and activists we demand funding for treatment: 150 people will die today, 10 while we are standing here, from drug overdoses.”

Security guards allowed the protesters to stage a die-in as puzzled tourists looked on.

“Disperse, please,” guards called. One, who would not give his name, told the Guardian he agreed with the action.

“Sacklers lie, people die,” Goldin chanted.

She said: “We want the Sacklers to put their money into rehab not museums.”

One protester, Bob Alexander, a city guide for tourists, said he had once had an opioid problem.

“The Sackler family has made a lot of money out of OxyContin and they didn’t tell people how addictive it is,” he said. “Putting profits into cultural philanthropy is hypocritical.”

Hundreds of pill bottles were thrown into the moat. One guard ripped down a banner that read: “Fund rehab.” After about 20 minutes, Goldin led the protesters out of the museum peacefully. 

Goldin planned the action as a protest against museums, galleries and academic institutions in the US, UK and elsewhere which take donations from the Sackler family. The Sacklers donated $3.4m to the Met, a gift that was used to build a home for the Temple of Dendur, one of the institution’s most popular draws. 

Goldin revealed recently that she developed a dependency on opioids after being prescribed OxyContin while recovering from wrist surgery in Berlin in 2014.

A former heroin addict, she said she became addicted to the powerful painkillers “overnight”. When she could not get the pills by prescription, she began buying them from street dealers. That led her to take heroin and fentanyl when she could not get pills and to almost suffer a fatal overdose.

Speaking to the Guardian in an exclusive interview in January, Goldin said she did not know how the Sackler heirs descended from the late Mortimer and Raymond Sackler, and according to Forbes worth at least $13bn collectively, could “live with themselves”.

Goldin wants Sackler family members to put money into rehabilitation centers rather than art and academic philanthropy. She also wants museums to stop taking donations from the Sackler family and to stand with her campaign to expose pharmaceutical companies that made fortunes from opioids.

Such companies, collectively known as big pharma, are facing hundreds of lawsuits brought by US cities, counties and states. OxyContin is regarded as the “ground zero” of the opioid crisis because in 1996 it was released as the first of a new breed of slow-release, morphine-type prescription pills.

Developed to treat acute post-surgical pain and terminal cancer patients, such pills were marketed as a treatment for chronic pain. It emerged, however, that they could be addictive even as prescribed.

CLICK HERE TO WATCH VIDEO OF THE PROTEST.

ORIGINAL SOURCE: www.theguardian.com

The White House Hosts Opioid Summit

President Trump Hosts Opioid Summit At The White House

Each day, the opioid epidemic claims more than 115 lives. David Greene talks to Surgeon General Jerome Adams about the administration’s strategy for fighting addiction. The summit convenes today, Thursday, March 1st.

Click the image below to listen to the full report from NPR.

FDA to broaden access to Medication-Assisted Treatment

FDA to broaden access to medication-assisted treatment for opioid addiction

Posted: Feb 26, 2018 11:03 AM

Updated: Feb 26, 2018 11:24 AM

By Nadia Kounang CNN 

(CNN) — The Food and Drug Administration expects to roll out guidance on expanded access to opioid addiction therapy known as medication-assisted treatment, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar announced Saturday at a meeting of the National Governor’s Association.

As a practice, such treatment utilizes behavioral therapy as well as medications like buphrenorphine and methadone that can reduce cravings and withdrawal symptoms from opioid use. Many addiction specialists consider it the gold standard of addiction treatment.

“Medication-assisted treatment works. The evidence on this is voluminous and ever-growing,” Azar said.

His comments were a stark contrast to those of his predecessor Tom Price, who said of such treatment, “If we’re just substituting one opioid for another, we’re not moving the dial much.”

Azar pointed out that just one-third of specialty addiction treatment programs in the United States offer the therapy. “Failing to offer (medication-assisted treatment) is like treating an infection without antibiotics,” Azar said, vowing to increase those numbers.

As part of the effort, Azar announced that the FDA would soon be issuing guidance to encourage the development of longer-acting formulations of current therapies. The FDA has approved methadone, naltrexone and buprenophine for the treatment of opioid use disorder. However, one of the barriers to effective treatment, according to addiction specialists, is that these drugs require commitment to consistent and constant administration.

“Injections make adherence easier. You only need a shot once a month rather than going to get it every day. But they also can be more feasible in rural settings, where the opioid crisis has hit especially hard and yet treatment options can be especially sparse,” Azar said.

He noted that the FDA recently approved a one-month injectable version of buphrenorphine and said he hopes the upcoming FDA guidance would help encourage the creation of other injectable forms of the drug.

“FDA’s guidance will help clarify what kind of evidence is needed to gain approval for new … forms of buprenorphine, such as data regarding how quickly the drug is distributed in the bloodstream,” Azar said.

The secretary also announced that the FDA would soon be issuing guidance around studies that evaluated the effectiveness of medication-assisted treatment.

“The guidance will correct a misconception that patients must achieve total abstinence in order for MAT to be considered effective,” Azar said. He explained that other targets aside from abstinence would be considered when evaluating therapies, such as how treatment is impacting emergency-room visits or overdoses.

Addiction specialist Dr. Andrew Kolodny was optimistic but cautious of the announcement. “The changes mentioned for determining effectiveness of new medicines make sense. And we can certainly use more tools in the toolkit. But we don’t want FDA to go so far that ineffective medications get approved,” said Kolodny, a co-director of the Opioid Policy Research Collaborative at the Heller School at Brandeis University.

Caleb Banta-Green, a researcher at the University of Washington’s School of Public Health, said the issue wasn’t a need for more treatments but more access. “We have pretty good medications now. The real problem is deploying them to the 80%-plus who want them and can’t access them through our complicated health care system.”

Kolodny agreed. “We already have effective medications for treating opioid addiction. Buprenorphine works. It’s the first-line treatment, but access is inadequate. Not enough doctors are prescribing it. Until we do a better job of improving access to the treatments we have, overdose deaths are likely to remain at historically high levels.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s most recent data on drug overdoses, more than 42,000 people died from opioid drug overdoses in 2016, much of it driven by the rapid rise in use of synthetic opioids like illicit fentanyl.

TM & © 2018 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company. All rights reserved.

Arizona Department of Corrections Increases Feminine Hygiene Supply for Inmates

Arizona Department of Corrections increases feminine hygiene supply for inmates

10:26 PM, Feb 13, 2018

PHOENIX – The Arizona Department of Corrections says it will immediately triple the number of free sanitary napkins it provides each month to female inmates.

Tuesday’s move comes as a proposal in the Legislature that mandates an unlimited supply of tampons, napkins or pads was stalled after a committee chairman said the prison system was addressing the issue.

Female inmates will now be issued 36 sanitary napkins a month for free and can get more if needed. Tampons are only provided free when medically needed, but inmates can buy them at the commissary.

Democratic Rep. Athena Salman was pushing the proposal to provide an unlimited number of free napkins, tampons or other feminine hygiene products.

Before Tuesday’s policy change, the agency provided inmates with 12 free pads each month and inmates could get more if needed. They could not keep more than 24 at any one time.

There are about 3,900 female inmates at the state’s women’s prison west of Phoenix.

Perryville Prison To Host ‘TEDxPerryvilleCorrectional’ Conference

“Behind the Curtain: Brains, Beauty, Business and Beyond” theme for first such event in an Arizona prison

GOODYEAR, ARIZ. (PRWEB) FEBRUARY 08, 2018

The TEDxPerryvilleCorrectional Conference, to be held on Thursday, April 19, 2018, will be a one-day event designed to address many challenges and preconceived notions faced in modern corrections, such as combatting substance abuse, the importance and impact of education, business acumen, the bridge of employment to success, business and community partnerships and the power of a second chance. TEDxPerryvilleCorrectional is only the second TEDx event to be held in a female prison.

The theme, “Behind the Curtain: Brains, Beauty, Business and Beyond” has been carefully crafted by a joint group of business leaders from the greater Phoenix-area and female inmates representing the Perryville prison complex, part of the Arizona Department of Corrections (ADC).

TEDxPerryvilleCorrectional will take place at the all-female Perryville prison complex in Goodyear, Arizona on Thursday, April 19, 2018. Speakers from within Perryville’s incarcerated population, and as well as members of the public, will present on topics and provide artistic performances that are related to the theme.

“We’re entering a new era of corrections, and the Arizona Department of Corrections is helping to lead the way,” said ADC Director Charles L. Ryan. “We’re pleased to be a partner in the TEDxPerryvilleCorrectional Conference for this first-of-its-kind event in Arizona, and hope it will serve to promote an open and constructive discussion of the goals we all share to help inmates prepare for a successful re-entry and to reduce recidivism.”

“We’ve all experienced some sort of prejudice in our lives and we’ve focused our theme to look behind the curtain and see the good that comes from someone’s journey of transformation,” said TEDxPerryvilleCorrectional Conference Co-Organizer Michelle Cirocco.

Televerde, the global leader in B2B demand generation and inside sales solutions that help clients better serve their customers and improve sales, has signed on as a sponsor the event. The planning committee is currently accepting both speaking and sponsorship proposals. Those interested can reach out to the TEDxPerryvilleCorrectional Steering Committee by emailing: tedxperryvillecorrectional(at)gmail(dot)com.

For more information about TEDxPerryvilleCorrectional, please visit: https://www.ted.com/tedx/events/27319

About TEDx, x = independently organized event 
In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, TEDTalks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group. These local, self-organized events are branded TEDx, where x = independently organized TED event. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events are self-organized. (Subject to certain rules and regulations.)

About TED 
TED is a nonprofit organization devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading, usually in the form of short, powerful talks (18 minutes or fewer) delivered by today’s leading thinkers and doers. Many of these talks are given at TED’s annual conference in Vancouver, British Columbia, and made available, free, on TED.com. TED speakers have included Bill Gates, Jane Goodall, Elizabeth Gilbert, Sir Richard Branson, Monica Lewinsky, Philippe Starck, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Sal Khan and Daniel Kahneman.

TED’s open and free initiatives for spreading ideas include TED.com, where new TED Talk videos are posted daily; the Open Translation Project (https://www.ted.com/participate/translate), which provides subtitles and interactive transcripts as well as translations from thousands of volunteers worldwide; the educational initiative TED-Ed (https://ed.ted.com/); the annual million-dollar TED Prize (https://www.ted.com/participate/ted-prize), which funds exceptional individuals with a “wish,” or idea, to create change in the world; TEDx (https://www.ted.com/about/programs-initiatives/tedx-program), which provides licenses to thousands of individuals and groups who host local, self-organized TED-style events around the world; and the TED Fellows program (https://www.ted.com/participate/ted-fellows-program), which selects innovators from around the globe to amplify the impact of their remarkable projects and activities.

Media Contact for TEDxPerryvilleCorrectional:      
Jennifer Jewett     
Mockingbird Communications 
+1 617 913 2404 
jennifer(at)mockingbirdcomms(dot)com

Arizona Lawmakers Hope to Put Dent in Opioid Crisis

Gov. Doug Ducey greets Senate Minority Leader Katie Hobbs on Monday ahead of calling a special legislative session to enact what is billed as a bipartisan approach to dealing with the opioid crisis. (Capitol Media Services/Howard Fischer)

Lawmakers hope to put dent in opioid crisis

Originally Published: January 24, 2018 5:55 a.m.

By Howard Fischer, Capitol Media Services

PHOENIX — State lawmakers begin working today (eds: tuesday) on a bipartisan plan state officials hope will make a significant dent in opioid addiction, abuse and deaths in Arizona.

“In 2016, more than two Arizonans died each day due to an opioid overdose,’’ Dr. Cara Christ, the state’s health director, said at a ceremony where Gov. Doug Ducey signed a proclamation for a special legislative session to deal with the issue.

“Since 2012, we’ve seen an increase of 74 percent in opiod-related deaths,’’ she continued. “Drug overdoses kill more Arizonans than car accidents.’’

The proposal contains money designed to help provide treatment for those who are addicted. The state already does some of that through its Medicaid program. This package contains $10 million for those whose income leaves them unqualified for that.

But the governor said the measure also has a strong element designed to prevent addiction in the first place. That’s built around a five-day limit on how much opioids that doctors can prescribe to patients who have not been on the drug for at least 60 days.

“You’re talking about really taking advantage of the data and facts that we understand how someone gets addicted,’’ he said.

“When it goes past five days or six days, that’s when the incidence of addiction skyrocket,’’ Ducey continued. “So the objective here was not only to treat people that are suffering addiction so that they can get off it but to prevent future addictions and overdoses from happening.’’

But he said the legislation should not harm others.

“People that have chronic pain, people that are suffering from chronic pain and are already benefitting from these miracle drugs, there will be no change for them,’’ he said.

The governor called the measure “the most aggressive piece of public policy, the most thorough and thoughtful piece of public policy that’s been introduced in years.’’

Legislative Democrats are willing to go along, especially once they got that $10 million for addiction treatment. But they don’t see this as a cure all.

“It’s a thoughtful and thorough first step,’’ said Senate Minority Leader Katie Hobbs. “We won’t win this battle in one year.’’

State lawmakers actually already are in session. And there is no legal reason why the pieces of the proposal cannot be added to the regular legislative agenda.

But by calling a concurrent special session, Ducey sets the stage to go from proposal to finished law in three days.

“This is not being rushed through at all,’’ the governor told reporters after the ceremony. He said the measure has been in the works since September, with input from members of the medical community, law enforcement, addiction experts.

“And now it will be debated in the light of day in both of our chambers,’’ Ducey said.

“We needed urgency and focus on this issue, which is a crisis in our state,’’ he explained. “It called for a special session.’’

But what it also does is shorten the amount of time for people to read and scrutinize the final legislation — it was still not printed as of Monday afternoon — and be able to seek changes.

There are some potential flash points.

For example, the proclamation for the session says there will be new enforcement procedures to go after doctors who overprescribe not just opioids but other similar drugs. That could raise questions from doctors who specialize in pain management.

Ducey also wants to allow the state to charge companies that manufacture opioids as well as their executives with felonies for misrepresenting the effectiveness and addictive nature of their wares.

And the governor proposes to require insurance companies to expedite authorization for certain kinds of treatments. That is based on concerns that while patients are awaiting the go-ahead from insurers for surgery they end up being given opioids for the pain, increasing the possibility of addiction.

Other provisions include a “Good Samaritan’’ provision, allowing someone who is using drugs to call for help when a companion needs medical attention without putting himself or herself at risk of arrest.

The governor did part ways with his health director on one particular issue.

In briefing reporters last week, Christ said there is no simple answer to alternatives to highly addictive opioids when treating pain. But she said the list of options could include medical marijuana which is legal in Arizona.

Original Source: https://www.pvtrib.com/news/2018/jan/24/lawmakers-hope-put-dent-opioid-crisis/

 

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

Second Chances Are Deserved..and Beneficial!

Opinion: Why Hiring People with Criminal Records Benefits All of Us

Fox News

By Mike Jandernoa

From the smallest “mom and pop” shop to the largest international corporation, businesses across America are constantly looking for good employees. We want committed, engaging and creative individuals who can grow our organizations. We scour applications and resumes, trying to discern whether a potential employee will fulfill our needs and become an asset to our teams.

In the past, many employers would often not consider hiring people who had even minor criminal records. But as the former CEO of a 10,000-employee organization, I have one message for America: we can no longer exclude this vital component of our workforce.

An estimated one in three American adults has a criminal record of some kind. And about 600,000 people leave our nation’s prisons every year, looking to rejoin the workforce. While individuals in this group of workers won’t be right for every job, the right job is out there for everyone.

The benefits of boosting employment for those with criminal records are significant.

First, opening up opportunities to this population will make our country safer. Right now, almost 60 percent of individuals remain unemployed a year after being released from incarceration. It’s in our collective self-interest for them to get jobs, because steady employment is one of the best ways to ensure that individuals lead productive, crime-free lives. In one study of 6,000 returning citizens, employment cut the rate of those who committed a new crime in half.

Second, employers all across the country are suffering from a dearth of skilled labor. Every year, one major national bank surveys small businesses across this country. This year the survey found incredible optimism: 80 percent of employers said their business is stronger than ever; 40 percent said they plan to make a capital expenditure to grow their companies; and a quarter of those surveyed said they plan to hire more workers.

In West Michigan, most of the business leaders I know plan to expand their workforces. The downside? The businesses can’t find enough workers.

In fact, 61 percent of business owners reported extreme or moderate difficulty finding qualified employees. Adding to the challenge is the number of baby boomers retiring and a shortage of entry-level workers to fill all the vacancies that currently exist.

I’ve experienced this firsthand in West Michigan, where we’ve built one of the hottest job markets in the country. We’ve become one of the top places for growth and one of the best places to live. But our success has made it very difficult to find employees.

Our region is almost at full employment, so we must look for alternatives. We have a very strong manufacturing base, and these businesses are looking for people who will show up on time and test negative for drugs – that’s it. This opens the door for people who were formerly incarcerated and who are serious about turning their lives around.

It is not unheard of for employers to send vans to pick up workers who are in residential community corrections programs because the employers are so desperate for workers. Some of our country’s largest employers are making second-chance hiring their official policy. Target and Home Depot have “banned the box” in their employment practices. “Ban the box” delays inquiry into an applicant’s criminal history until late in the hiring process, ensuring that those with criminal records aren’t tossed aside before having an opportunity to detail their skills, training and qualifications.

This policy also allows these individuals to explain the circumstances of their offense, and show potential employers how they have turned their lives around.

Government jobs provide valuable training for private sector employment, so many private companies are asking their lawmakers to shift hiring processes for public sector jobs as well.

The West Michigan Policy Forum, made up of some of the state’s most influential business leaders, has ranked criminal justice reform as one of the five top “pro-business” policy priorities

This type of leadership from the business community has yielded incredible results across the country. A whopping 29 states have “banned the box” for public-sector jobs. And the bipartisan Fair Chance Act, sponsored by Senators Ron Johnson, R-Wis., and Cory Booker, D-N.J., would replicate this policy at the federal level.

Reforms to seal or erase records of criminal convictions are also a priority for job creators. These policies seal minor criminal records after a certain crime-free period. Research shows that low-level offenders who have remained crime-free for three to five years are no more likely to commit a crime than anyone else.

And in many states, when minor criminal records are sealed, law enforcement and judicial officers still have access to these records, ensuring that public safety continues to be a priority.

Almost all states have some mechanism through which certain criminal records can be erased or sealed, but erasing records at the federal level is virtually impossible. Fortunately, the issue is gaining traction in Congress.

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., is spearheading the REDEEM Act, with 

bipartisan support. And Rep.  Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., introduced the Renew Act with Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C.

Occupational licensing reform is another issue important to the business community. Today one in four occupations requires a government license – but a criminal history often bars an individual from the licensing process.

Ironically, such restrictions make us less safe. One study showed that states with more burdensome licensing laws saw an average 9 percent increase in recidivism, while those with the lowest burdens had a recidivism reduction of 2.5 percent.

States as diverse as Illinois, Arizona, and Louisiana have already begun peeling back the layers of government-issued permission slips to work.

At the federal level, the New HOPE Act, introduced by Rep. Tim Walberg, R-Mich., and similar legislation sponsored by Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, would allow states to use federal funding to identify and reduce unnecessary licensing barriers within their regulations and statutes.

Elected officials should look to job creators for sound public policy. I urge my fellow employers to beat the drum even louder and make their voices heard at the local, state and federal level.

We can improve public safety, strengthen the economy and broaden our pool of skilled labor through commonsense criminal justice reforms and offering second chances for those who have earned them. I don’t know a good businessperson who would turn down that deal.

___________________________________________________________________

Mike Jandernoa is former Chairman of the Board and CEO of Perrigo Company

Original Source: http://csgjusticecenter.org