Arizona health officials launch real-time, comprehensive opioid hotline for medical providers

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(Source: CNN) (Source: CNN)

Arizona is launching one of the country’s first real-time, comprehensive opioid hotlines for healthcare providers.

The Arizona Department of Health Services and Arizona’s Poison and Drug Information Centers are teaming up to launch a hotline for medical providers seeking consolation for complex patients with pain and opioid-use disorder.

[SPECIAL SECTION: Opioid crisis in Arizona]

“This one of a kind resource will connect Arizona healthcare providers with subject matter experts at Arizona’s Poison Control Centers to provide them with free, real-time, reliable information and resources to support patient management,” said Dr. Dan Brooks, medical director for the Banner Poison and Drug Information Centers. “We’re thrilled to make available our network of clinical experts to assist Arizona clinicians treating patients with acute and chronic pain, acute opioid complications, or opioid withdrawal, and provide patient-specific consultation in real-time”

The Arizona Opioid Assistance and Referral Line will be a free 24/7 hotline operated by medical experts at the Arizona’s Poison and Drug Information Centers.

[RELATED: What is the opioid crisis and how does it affect me?]

ADHS and Arizona’s Poison and Drug Information Centers are developing a new protocol for the hotline that includes specific opioid-related information for providers including: safe prescribing limits for opioid-naïve patients, identification of potentially dangerous drug combinations, and chronic pain treatment options. The hotline can also be used to give providers information on caring for patients who are suffering from opioid-use disorder.  

[INFOGRAPHICS: Opioid deaths in AZ by age, race, type of opioids]

“Preventing opioid overdoses and deaths in our state needs a multifaceted approach, and the new hotline is a major step forward as it will give medical providers immediate access to experts who can help to ensure safe prescribing and to identify treatment options for patients, which may or may not include opioids,” said Dr. Cara Christ, director of ADHS. “No two patients are the same and treatments vary based on individual needs, so we need to make sure we are providing tailored resources to our medical community.”  

[RELATED: Highest opioid overdose deaths in AZ in 10 years]

[RELATED: State health officials release opioid action plan]

The hotline was a recommendation in ADHS’s “Opioid Action Plan” and is one of several initiatives to support Arizona prescribers and healthcare providers managing patients with chronic pain.

The hotline is expected to begin taking calls in early March, it will have a dedicated number that is separate from the national Poison and Drug Information Centers’ 800 number which will be sent to medical providers through the Health Alert Network when it goes live. Providers can sign up for the Health Alert Network online. It will expand to provide referrals to citizens seeking treatment for opioid-use disorder.

[RELATED:  Arizona governor signs law he sought to target opioid abuse]

[WATCH: Gov. Doug Ducey signs Arizona Opioid Epidemic Act]

People can learn more about all the programs that have been launched in Arizona since Governor Doug Ducey declared the epidemic a statewide public health emergency on the ADHS website

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