PHOENIX — Governor Doug Ducey issued an executive order to increase the reporting of opioid-related data, allowing state health officials to have information within 24 hours. The order comes one week after the governor’s emergency declaration to address the growing number of overdose deaths in Arizona.
“Last year alone, 790 Arizonans died from an opioid overdose — we’re in the midst of a public health emergency, and we must do all that we can to develop real, targeted solutions,” said Governor Ducey. “Through this enhanced surveillance, public health officials will be able to collect data in real-time to enhance our laser-like focus to treat addiction and prevent overdoses.”
“The data we receive now can be up to a year old,” said Dr. Cara Christ, director of the Arizona Department of Health Services. “That doesn’t give us a clear picture of what is happening every day. Today’s executive order will help us obtain timely data and get help to the people who need it in our effort to reduce opioid deaths.”
Opioids include heroin as well as certain prescription medication and are powerful painkillers that are highly addictive. Last year, an average of more than two people per day lost their lives to opioid misuse in Arizona. The trend shows an alarming increase of 74 percent over the past four years.
The governor’s executive order requires those encountering opioid overdose related events to send their data to Arizona public health within 24-hours of the event. Those required to participate in the enhanced surveillance include:
– Licensed health care providers;
– Administrator of a health care institution or correctional facility;
– EMS/Ambulance to include:
First response agencies
Ground and air ambulance services
– Medical Examiners; and
The executive order directs multiple agencies to share information with the Arizona Department of Health Services to allow better coordinate opioid prevention activities statewide.
The specific health conditions to be reported will include:
– Suspected opioid overdoses;
– Suspected opioid deaths;
– Naloxone doses administered in response to either condition;
– Naloxone doses dispensed; and
– Neonatal abstinence syndrome.
In addition to the 24-hour reporting requirements, the Arizona Department of Health Services’ public health laboratory is preparing to begin testing all blood samples from suspected opioid overdose deaths. The toxicology screening will help to bring more information on the kinds of opioids causing severe outcomes in Arizona. The department will begin work with hospitals and laboratories to develop a submission process and timeline for implementation following today’s executive order.
The governor’s enhanced surveillance advisory for opioid overdose epidemic is provided in accordance with A.R.S. § 36-782.B. This new required reporting will go into effect 48 hours from the issuance of this order. The order expires in 60 days. A copy of today’s executive order will be available on the department’s opioid website http://azhealth.gov/opioid.