In a bipartisan effort, Arizona Democrats and Republicans collaborated on a bill that would address the state’s opioid epidemic in addition to regulating existing and future sober living facilities and drug detox centers.
Government officials were in unanimous favor for proposing more regulations also on prescription drug dosages of opioid painkillers.
Representatives said that as patients require a place to live separated from stimulus that may encourage a relapse into drug use, there is a great need to build additional sober living communities.
January’s Arizona’s Opioid Epidemic Act lists a number of changes that would go into effect if the bill becomes law. For example, sober living centers would require background checks and drug tests for all its employees, which are not stressed at some community sober living centers.
More sober living facilities will open in Tucson to help patients after drug detox. The new facilities would be integrated into neighborhoods. Lawmakers promise that no disturbance for nearby homeowners or businesses will be created.
According to Arizona State Representative Noel Campbell, it would seem as though these sober living homes were practically invisible. He promises that each location would be respectful of their surroundings, comply with safety and health measures and implement efficient intake and discharge policies. Under the new regulations, these centers would be required to implement policies which would allow for patients to continue receiving medication-assisted treatment once they have returned home.
In addition, government officials requested that Arizona residents get involved to help community members with drug addiction. Under the Good Samaritan Law, people can call 911 when they witness a drug overdose without the fear of federal repercussions.
Arizona remains one of the few states that does not currently have the Good Samaritan Law in effect. Data from other states show that when such a provision is in place, opioid overdose deaths tend to decrease by approximately 10 percent.
The proposal particularly affects medical professionals. One statute would place dosage restrictions and a five-day medication limit for first-time patients prescribed opioid-based medications. There are exemptions for patients, including those who need pain management following surgeries or during cancer or burn treatment.
If the proposal becomes official… (Continue Reading)