State health officials release opioid action plan

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(Source: 3TV/CBS 5) (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -

Opioids are suspected in the deaths of 280 Arizonians and another 2,361 overdoses over the past two and a half months, according to a state health report issued Wednesday.

The grim numbers are part of the Opioid Action Plan presented this week to Gov. Doug Ducey, who recently declared opioid addiction a statewide epidemic. 

[SPECIAL SECTION: Opioid Crisis in Arizona]

The 90-page plan calls for various legislative fixes as well as pouring more public resources into treating addictions and educating the public on the dangers of opioids.

Dr. Cara Christ, the director of the Arizona Department of Health Services, said the future legislation could give police greater powers to "target bad actors" who are illegally prescribing opioids.

Christ also said legislative proposals would ask for tougher penalties for opioid drug dealers.

Another recommendation would limit a  patient's supply of opioid drugs to five just days on their first fill.

Refills would be determined by their doctors.

This would affect those patients who have never used opioids or have not used them for a period of three to six months. 

A recent study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows dependency on opioids sharply increases after five days of usage.

Last year, the number of opioid related deaths stood at 790, a 74 percent increase over the past four years.

The numbers prompted the governor to declare a state emergency on June 5. 

Click here to read the report: azhealth.gov/opioidactionplan

Click here to learn more about what our state Is doing: azdhs.gov/opioid

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Dennis WlechVeteran political reporter Dennis Welch is a well-respected political expert in Arizona.

Dennis Welch
Political Editor

Before making the move to television, Welch wrote and edited for the Arizona Guardian, a highly influential online news site dedicated to Arizona politics and government where he served as owner and editor. During his Guardian days, Welch was a frequent guest on “Politics Unplugged” and has been a regular fixture on the state political landscape since 2005 appearing on numerous radio and television talk shows. “I am thrilled to start working with such a talented and dedicated staff of journalists,” said Welch. “This is a great opportunity to broaden the reach of my political coverage and tell stories that affect Arizona voters and their families.” With more than 13 years of experience under his belt, Welch’s arrival only strengthens 3TV’s commitment to providing first-rate political and government coverage across all platforms. When not covering politics, Welch is an avid runner and fronts a punk rock band that plays frequently throughout the Southwest and California. Welch is a well-respected political expert in Arizona and his addition means 3TV will provide a stronger, more robust political presence in Arizona. He joins 3TV from the Arizona Guardian, a highly influential online news site dedicated to Arizona politics and government where he served as owner and editor. During his Guardian days, Welch was a frequent guest on “Politics Unplugged” and has been a regular fixture on the state political landscape since 2005 appearing on numerous radio and television talk shows. “I am thrilled to start working with such a talented and dedicated staff of journalists,” said Welch. “This is a great opportunity to broaden the reach of my political coverage and tell stories that affect Arizona voters and their families.” With more than 13 years of experience under his belt, Welch’s arrival only strengthens 3TV’s commitment to providing first-rate political and government coverage across all platforms. When not covering politics, Welch is an avid runner and fronts a punk rock band that plays frequently throughout the Southwest and California.

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