Opioid-involved deaths rose 76 percent in Arizona from 2013 to 2019. The greatest increase in deaths—sevenfold—involved synthetic opioids like fentanyl.2
Opioid misuse is a big problem. The good news is we all hold the power to solve it. All Arizonans can join in the fight against opioid misuse for the health and future of our state. Here’s how.
What everyone can do:
Most opioid overdoses occur at home. That’s why it’s important for us all to understand the steps to prevent misuse, and know when to act. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona (BCBSAZ) offers ideas and resources to help.
How you can help:
Talk about it. To make it easier to start the conversation with someone you’re worried about, use this brochure. You can download and print it.
Share ideas about non-opioid pain management strategies, such as massage, yoga, acupuncture, or chiropractic care. If finances or transportation are an issue for a loved one, offer to help or try to arrange help.
Encourage people who are worried about opioids—or any substance including alcohol use—to talk to their doctor. There are also treatment locators available.
Call 911 immediately if you believe someone may have overdosed.
What healthcare professionals can do:
Healthcare professionals licensed to prescribe opioids are in a difficult spot. They must balance the need to help patients manage pain with data that shows opioids become addictive and less effective over time.
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What employers can do:
In a recent survey by the National Safety Council, 71 percent of U.S. employers reported having been affected by employee misuse of prescription medications—including opioids. This included lost productivity, on-the-job errors, and more workers’ compensation claims.
Create a work environment that supports employees by preventing injuries (and, therefore, associated pain). Consider focusing on areas like ergonomic practices and design, and implementing strong safety protocols.
Design employee health coverage to include benefits for care that helps with pain management and injury prevention. Consider complementary or alternate therapies.
Know the possible signs of opioid misuse, such as showing up to work late, decreased attention to hygiene, an uptick in absenteeism, missed deadlines, or other indications of poor performance. These signs may not indicate a problem but do warrant a conversation (per your company’s guidelines).