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We’re a drug & alcohol treatment facility in Scottsdale, Arizona. Our blog provides news, information, and motivation to help individuals start or continue on their recovery journey from drug and alcohol addiction.

In the past, people who called 911 to report that they were with someone who had overdosed on heroin could be charged if they were also using drugs. This led to many people being afraid to call for help when others overdosed, leading to many deaths.

In order to combat this and other problems that have come with the opioid epidemic, Arizona passed a law called the Arizona Opioid Epidemic Act on Jan. 25, 2018, and Gov. Ducey signed the bill into law on Jan. 26. This law makes some important changes in addition to protecting people who call 911 to report overdoses in order to help to curb the opioid epidemic in the state.

Background of the Good Samaritan Law in Arizona

From 2013-17, opioid deaths in Arizona surged 74%, leading to a state emergency. A survey showed most health professionals believe a Good Samaritan law could help tackle the crisis. Since June 2017, 5,500 Arizonans died from suspected opioid-related causes. The fear of legal repercussions often deters people from seeking help for overdoses.

The Opioid Epidemic Act allows callers reporting overdoses to avoid drug-related arrests. If they have warrants, they may be detained and any drugs or paraphernalia found can be confiscated.

Why the Good Samaritan Law in Arizona Was Enacted

Arizona is the 41st state to adopt a 911 Good Samaritan law, promoting help-seeking during overdoses. Officers may carry Narcan or Naloxone, opioid antidotes that save lives if given promptly during an overdose. Encouraging 911 calls, the state aims to reduce opioid deaths.

The act, addressing the opioid crisis as a public health issue rather than only a criminal matter, was unanimously passed and rapidly signed into law, signifying a novel approach to the epidemic.

Other Provisions of the Opioid Epidemic Act

The Opioid Epidemic Act includes more measures beyond the Good Samaritan provision. Doctors can’t prescribe pain meds for over five days, based on a CDC study suggesting three days is often enough. Exceptions exist for chronic pain, accidents, or severe conditions like cancer.

Drug manufacturers face criminal penalties for fraud. Paper prescriptions for addictive drugs are replaced with electronic submission. Over-prescribing doctors risk losing their licenses.

The law permits auxiliary officials, like probation officers, to carry naloxone for overdose emergencies. It allocates $10 million for the treatment of uninsured addicts.

Arizona’s Opioid Epidemic Act and its Good Samaritan provision aim to save lives. Witnesses of an overdose should call 911 without fear of arrest. Those battling opioid addiction are encouraged to seek help from accredited treatment facilities.