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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

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

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

Drug Abuse Prevention Strategies for the Holiday Season

Drug abuse prevention strategies should be stepped up over the holidays to prevent relapse during a difficult time of parties and events. You should make a list of relapse prevention strategies and keep it with you throughout the season as a reminder. If you’re not sure what to include on that list, here are a few ideas to get you started.

How to Say No

Practice saying ‘no’ in case someone offers you drugs or alcohol. It sounds simple, but a confident, determined ‘no’ can help prevent a relapse. Keep it simple. You don’t have to make an excuse for why you are refusing the offer – it’s your choice! Have a plan in place for someone who won’t take no for an answer and insists that ‘just one won’t hurt.’ Remember that ‘just one’ is what you’ve worked so hard to say no to. If necessary, walk away.

Have an Alternative

Drug abuse prevention means having a number of options available to you. If you’ve turned down an offer of a holiday party, come up with a healthy alternative activity to keep yourself busy. You could go to a movie with a supportive friend, go look at Christmas lights with a godchild, or even volunteer with a local organization. Remember the variety of activities available during the holiday season – plenty of them do not include substances.

Maintain Your Support Network

Keep a list of numbers for people you can contact if you’re in a tough spot. The list could include a counselor, sponsor, trusted friend or family member. Touch base with them regularly for support and encouragement throughout the holiday season. You may have cut some people out of your life when you became sober; turn to this support network to remind you of the power of strong relationships and why you want to remain in recovery.

Attend Meetings

Don’t let yourself get swept up in the change of pace. Stick to your counseling and meeting schedule. You may even want to increase the number of meetings you attend during this period. This can be a great way of staying on track with drug abuse prevention, because you’re likely to meet a number of other people in recovery who are facing similar struggles.

Find Balance

Taking care of your health can be more important than ever for finding balance during the holidays. Get enough sleep, drink enough water, and eat nutritious, real food. Fit in exercise wherever you can. Keeping up with your physical health can improve your mental and emotional health as well. The three types of health all work together to contribute to your total well being, which puts you on strong footing to avoid and say no to relapse triggers.

Drug abuse prevention is an important part of everyday life in recovery, and especially during the holidays when we may be faced with more triggers than usual. Stay strong, stay committed, and focus on your recovery. Unlike everything else, it doesn’t take a holiday.

We Are Here to Help!

ViVRE has a multitude of resources including housing, transportation, clothing, employment navigation, and behavioral health support. Please contact us today to learn more about our valuable programs and services!  Visit www.ViVREHousing.org or call (480) 389-4779. 

New hiring policy by Arizona agencies could curb recidivism

By 9th November, 2017 opioid epidemic, recovery, ViVRE No Comments

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey has instructed all Arizona agencies to adopt new hiring procedures that could help reduce recidivism.

Under the new policy known as the “Second Chance Box,” state agencies will delay questions related to an applicant’s criminal record until after the initial stages of interviewing.

Ducey says that would ensure that everyone receives full and fair consideration for job openings.

An estimated 1.5 million Arizona adults have arrests or convictions on their records.

Ducey’s executive order issued Monday also points out that offenders who find employment following their release are less likely to end up back in prison, saving taxpayer resources and boosting Arizona’s economy.

Research shows that having a criminal conviction reduces the likelihood of receiving a callback for a job interview by nearly 50 percent.

Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.