New Arizona Legislation On Opioid Use

drugs image - tablets and a syringe

New Arizona Legislation On Opioid Use

At Coolidge Law, we want you to be aware of current changes in Arizona that will affect the legal system, health care systems, drug manufacturers, and law enforcement agencies. The new law regarding opioid use in Arizona impacts the dispensing of and use of opioid drugs, and also makes additional provisions for those caught in addictive cycles.

Crackdown in Arizona Opioid Use

Arizona Governor Doug Ducey recently authorized new policies to crack down on opioid usage in the state. The bill was signed on Friday January 26, 2018, in an effort to bring change to what Ducey called an opioid epidemic in Arizona and in the nation.

Opioids are a class of drugs derived from opium. In Arizona, possession of opioids is a felony. But beyond the legal ramifications of opioid use is the issue of widespread abuse and overdose of opioid drugs. According to U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention figures, more than 42,000 Americans lost their lives to opioid overdoses in 2016. And in Arizona during the last six months of 2017, the State Department of Health indicated there were 4,900 suspected overdoses and 716 suspected deaths from opioids.

Approved unanimously by Arizona’s lawmakers, the new law will bring about changes in how health care systems handle prescription drugs, while also providing help for drug addicts and bringing a crackdown on abuses in sales and manufacturing of opioid drugs.

One online news source, The Phoenix Patch, gives insight on how the new bill will impact Arizona citizens involved in both legal and illegal use of opiates. Here is a partial list of new policies that will be implemented as a result of the recent legislation:

  •      Overdose victims will no longer be prosecuted for possession of drugs when they call for help.
  •      If, in the process of seeking to help an overdose victim, someone is discovered in possession of   drugs, they will no longer be prosecuted.
  •      Doctors are prohibited from prescribing more than an initial five-day supply of pain medication.
  •      The bill has appropriated ten million dollars to provide uninsured and underinsured patients with addiction treatment.
  •      Maximum dose prescription limits will be set for most chronic pain patients. And all new high dosage prescriptions must include a consultation with a pain specialist.
  •      Healthcare providers must transition to the use of electronic prescriptions to avoid forgeries in prescription orders. The first phase of electronic systems is set to be implemented starting on January 1, 2019.
  •      More accountability will be set in place to hold manufacturers of prescription drugs accountable for accuracy of product information. Manufacturers who deceive the public about their product will be subject to criminal penalties.

In addition, efforts have been stepped up to train law enforcement officials in Arizona to administer naxalone, an opioid reversal drug, in an attempt to stem the number of overdoses in the state. Data from the summer months in 2017 indicates that naxalone was administered in Arizona at least once a day, in more than 3,000 overdose emergencies.

If you’ve been charged with a drug felony or with other felonies or misdemeanors in Arizona, Coolidge Law Firm is ready to give you sound legal advice. We’re tough, we’re fair, we’re thorough, and we listen. From theft, to driving violations, to domestic violence, to illegal possession of drugs and more, we’re here to help. Call us to schedule an appointment and get the best criminal defense in the Phoenix area.


Image used under common usage license, (Flickr) Public Domain, U S Department Of Agriculture