On January 11th we held our most successful Addiction and Recovery Advocacy Day yet!! We had 67 people sign up to meet with their representatives and almost 20 more who showed up to support! There were 35 confirmed meetings with individual legislators and for lunch we had 62% of Senators and 33% of House members join us which was amazing as the House was in session starting at 11:30am! We had enough food for 240 people and ran out of everything but salad by 12:30pm! It was great to see advocates, Senators, Representatives, and staff talking and having lunch together. We educated them on Public Health Focused Addiction policy and what that would look like for Arizona and how it can combat the opioid crisis in which we are currently entrenched.
Arizona is really in a prime year for addiction and recovery advocacy as Governor Ducey declared a Public Health Emergency in June 2017 and since then his office and Department of Health Services have been working on recommendations that culminated into the Arizona Opioid Epidemic Act (SB1001) which was passed and signed into law on Friday January 26, 2018!! What this all means is that Arizona is now the 41st state to have a Good Samaritan 911 law which protects people who call 911 for a drug overdose from being arrested, $10 million of funding that will be in the newly created Substance Use Disorder fund and used for those who are underinsured/uninsured, new prescribing guidelines, prevention education funds, and also mandated medical professional education.
Arizona seems poised to be on front lines of fighting this epidemic however there is so much more work to do. The provisions in the passed Act rely heavily on preventing on opioid addiction which we all know is just a small piece of the puzzle.
What is Public Health Focused Addiction Policy?
- It is policy that focuses on treating addiction instead of incarcerating
- Looks at the whole picture instead of individual symptoms
- Reduces stigma thereby increasing the likelihood of people seeking treatment
- Protects the safety of people by seeing them as patients in need of assistance
What can Arizona do if they truly wanted to have a robust policy that adequately treats addiction thru the health system instead of the criminal justice system?
- Pass HB2389 which would allow syringe access programs to operate
- Pass HB2529/SB1465 which would provide Sober Living Home Regulations
- Pass SB1451 which is a Ban on Patient Brokering
- Reject HB2241 which would create mandatory minimum prison sentences for heroin sales
- Continue to work with individuals and organizations focused on recovery to find innovative solutions and provide quality care
What can we do as individuals?
We need your voice to join us as we are the ones who are most affected and the ones who have the story to help educate our legislators on what addiction really is and that recovery is possible! Please join us to stay updated on the progress of these bills at www.addictionhaven.com/arizona-advocacy