Our Bureau of Emergency Medical Services and Trauma System has been awarded $3.1 million by the United States Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) for development of a comprehensive first responder opioid/naloxone program in partnership with the University of Arizona and the Arizona Peace Officer Standards and Training board. Naloxone is a medication that can counteract an opioid overdose.

This innovative joint initiative will develop, implement, and assess three key initiatives.  The first is a statewide naloxone delivery system to provide access to naloxone for first responders.  The initiative will also focus on an acute opioid overdose recognition and naloxone administration training program for first responders.  The third part will address a targeted first responder opioid screening, brief intervention, and referral to treatment curriculum to instruct first responders how to recognize actual or potential opioid-related substance abuse and to provide appropriate interventions and referrals to care. These efforts will play a critical role in the reduction of opioid overdoses and opioid-related deaths in Arizona.

In June 2017, Governor Ducey issued a statewide emergency declaration after newly released data from ADHS showed 790 Arizonans died from opioid overdoses in 2016, an average of more than two people per day. As part of the emergency declaration ADHS was required to develop and provide training to local law enforcement on protocols for administering naloxone. Since the Emergency Declaration, almost 1,100 first responders have been trained to carry, handle, and administer naloxone; and ADHS has provided almost 5,000 naloxone kits to law enforcement agencies to help reverse overdoses. In accordance with the public health emergency declaration issued by Governor Doug Ducey, we released our Arizona Opioid Action Plan on September 6th, providing recommendations to help turn the tide on Arizona’s opioid epidemic.