Governor Doug Ducey signs Executive Order to battle opioid addiction problem in Arizona

- Governor Doug Ducey is continuing his fight against the opioid addiction crisis in Arizona with a new Executive Order.

With the new order, the Governor is now requiring state health officials to report opioid overdoses within 24 hours, including anyone from doctors to law enforcement to pharmacists. The Executive Order also calls for more timely reporting of when overdose reversal drugs are used, and when an unborn baby may have been exposed to the drugs. 

Currently, the state is working with a lot of data that is a year old.

Jace Clark is a pharmacist at Melrose Pharmacy, and he has worked at other big pharmacy chains.

"Illicit illegal drugs, they really cracked down on that so a lot more people are going the legal prescription route," said Clark.

790 Arizonans died of opioid overdoses last year, according to the Arizona Department of Health Services. That includes both heroin and prescription medications.

"I think a lot of people just hide behind the 'they've got a prescription for it'," said Clark.

The surging death toll prompted Governor Ducey to issue a public health emergency, and on Tuesday, he issued an executive order calling for stricter reporting.  Doctors, pharamacists, hospitals, and first responders will have to report overdoses and within 24 hours. 

Clark says that pharmacists are put in a tight spot because of the crisis. A crackdown means people who actually need the medicine could be affected.

"You know they're in pain," said Clark. "So, the bad apples ruin it for everyone else."

As far as solutions go, Clark doesn't think there's a quick fix.

"We can tell doctors don't prescribe this, don't do this, people are just going to turn to something else," said Clark.

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