Governor Doug Ducey issued his first public health emergency declaration today that calls for a statewide effort to put an end to opioid deaths in Arizona. The Governor declared the need for immediate action as the number of opioid overdoses and deaths increase at an alarming rate.

Last week, we released the 2016 Opioid Report and the numbers are alarming. The data shows an average of more than two people per day are losing their lives to these highly addictive drugs. Read more about the startling statistics in my recent blog post.

Today’s order by the Governor directs the Arizona Department of Health Services to rapidly respond to this public health emergency. The declaration will help ADHS to coordinate public health efforts, make resources available, and have better and more immediate access to overdose data.

We have a lot of work ahead of us in the coming months. ADHS will activate our Health Emergency Operations Center to initiate emergency rule making with Attorney General’s office in order to develop rules for opioid prescribing and treatment within health care institutions, develop guidelines to educate health care providers on responsible prescribing practices, and develop and provide training to local law enforcement agencies on proper protocols for carrying, handling, and administering naloxone in overdose situations.

ADHS will provide a preliminary report on findings and recommendations, including additional needs and response activities, and preliminary recommendations that require legislative action to the Governor by September 5, 2017. You can keep track of our progress by visiting our opioid website dedicated to the emergency response at