Arizona’s Opioid Crisis – Why You May Need a Criminal Lawyer

On June 1, 2017, the Arizona Department of Public Health issued a News Release that stated:

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The Arizona Department of Health Services today released its latest data on opioid overdoses in Arizona showing the highest number of deaths in ten years. In 2016, 790 Arizonans died from opioid overdoses. The trend shows a startling increase of 74 percent over the past four years.

. . .

Key findings from the report include:

  • An average of two Arizonans die each day from an opioid overdose.

  • Opioid overdoses and deaths are steadily increasing each year with 2016 showing the highest number of deaths.

  • In 2016, 790 Arizonans died from an opioid overdose.

  • Heroin deaths have tripled since 2012.

  • In the past decade, there were 5,932 people who died from opioid-induced causes.

  • Arizona opioid death rates start to rise in the late teens and peak at age 45-54.

  • The opioid death rate drops significantly above the age of 65.

  • There is a significant impact on the healthcare system. Opioid-related hospital encounter rates have increased by 300 percent over the past decade.

  • Arizonans are requiring more doses of naloxone to reduce opioid overdose deaths.

  • While the majority of deaths occur in metropolitan areas, rural areas have the greatest challenge in responding to opioid overdoses. Read more on the AzDHS.gov website here.

 

On June 5, 2017, the Office of the Governor Doug Ducey issued a News Release about his emergency declaration concerning the opioid crisis:

Governor Doug Ducey today signed an emergency declaration to address the growing number of opioid deaths in our state.

As the number of opioid overdoses and deaths increase at an alarming rate, we must take action. It’s time to call this what it is — an emergency,” said Governor Ducey. “Most of us know someone impacted by substance abuse — our family, our friends, our neighbors. Our hearts ache for them, but that isn’t enough. We must do more. I’m declaring a statewide health emergency because we need to know more about the epidemic, including enhanced data that illustrates when and where these overdoses occur so that we can develop real, targeted solutions. Read the full release on AzGovernor.org.

The emergency declaration directed that the State of Arizona Emergency Response and Recovery Plan be used to direct and control State and other assets, and authorize the Director of the Arizona Department of Emergency and Military Affairs to coordinate State assets. It authorized the Director of the Arizona Department of Health Services to coordinate all matters pertaining to the public health emergency response of the State. It required the Director of the Arizona Department of Health Services to consult to the Governor on identifying and recommending the necessary elements for an Enhanced Surveillance Advisory, initiate emergency rule making with the Arizona Attorney General’s Office in order to develop rules for opioid prescribing and treatment within health care institutions, and develop guidelines to educate healthcare providers on responsible prescribing practices.

Opioid abuse often leads to criminal charges. If you or a loved one has been charged, you need an experienced attorney to defend you. Attorney Gary Rohlwing has over thirty years experience. Call him today for a free initial consultation.

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