How Arizona Is Continuing to Fight Its Opioid Crisis During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Coronavirus - Covid-19 in Arizona

Concerns and updates about COVID-19 may be at the forefront of everyone’s mind these days, but rates of opioid addiction and overdose deaths are still an important crises in the U.S., including in Arizona. Drug rehab professionals at Purpose Healing Center were recently interviewed on AZ Family about the challenging risk for those in recovery with social isolation..

Here’s what Arizona is doing to address opioid addiction during the COVID-19 pandemic, and where you can find a drug rehab center in operation that can treat you or a loved one for opioid addiction.

Arizona and Its Fight Against Opioid Overdose

Between June 15, 2017, and May 1, 2020, there were 5,246 suspected opioid-related deaths in Arizona, and 40,438 suspected opioid overdoses, according to the Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS). In 2018, the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) confirmed 1,106 opioid-related deaths in Arizona. An estimated 522 of those deaths were caused by synthetic opioids like fentanyl, while 352 were related to heroin. The remainder of opioid-related deaths were caused by prescription painkillers like oxycodone and hydrocodone.

In June 2017, Arizona officials declared a state of emergency to fight opioid addiction and reduce the number of overdose deaths. In May 2018, the state of emergency ended following the implementation of the Opioid Action Plan and the Arizona Opioid Epidemic Act. Another report from the ADHS shows that these plans led to the expansion of treatment for opioid use disorder (including 24-hour treatment centers and assistance lines), and new addiction curriculums for 17 medical schools in Arizona.

The Opioid Action Plan and the Arizona Opioid Epidemic Act remain in effect through June 2021 and have the following goals:

  • Reduce the number of opioid deaths in Arizona by 10 percent by the end of 2024
  • Reduce the number of verified non-fatal opioid overdoses in Arizona by 15 percent by 2024
  • Reduce the rate of all drug overdose deaths in Arizona by 10 percent by the end of 2024

How Is COVID-19 Impacting the Arizona Opioid Crisis?

Therapists at Purpose Healing Center are conjecturing that people in recovery who are being urged to stay at home during the COVID-19 pandemic may be more susceptible to relapse on behalf of anxiety and a sense of loss.

Many Arizona residents in recovery from opioid addiction have experienced some type of loss during COVID-19, such as the loss of employment or a business, loss of a home, or loss of their primary treatment support system. Those who were dependent on their support groups, sponsors, or opioid treatment programs are suddenly disconnected from their support systems and more likely to relapse.

COVID-19 is also making it more difficult for people to consult with doctors in person regarding opioid treatment medications like buprenorphine. However, doctors are encouraging those in recovery to participate in online interviews to be evaluated for opioid dependence so they can receive a prescription for buprenorphine and stay on track with recovery.

What Can People in Recovery Do to Stay Sober During COVID-19?

Addiction treatment professionals are urging people to stay connected with their support systems as much as possible during COVID-19 by using social media, telephones, video conferencing, and apps like SoberBuddy. Those in recovery are also recommended to establish new daily routines that keep them busy and prevent boredom — especially those who are not working or who must stay home during the pandemic. Those who do relapse should visit an inpatient residential rehab center immediately to detox from opioids and reduce the risk of a fatal overdose.

Where to Find Drug Rehab Treatment During COVID-19

Those suffering from addiction who need help recovering from opioid addiction during COVID-19 can receive detox and drug rehab treatment from Purpose Healing Center in Scottsdale, Arizona. Call us at 480-579-3319 or verify your insurance coverage and begin the treatment process today.