Authorities, state officials working to curb prescription drug epidemic

Authorities, state officials working to curb prescription drug epidemic

PIMA COUNTY, AZ ( Tucson News Now) - New numbers show just how bad the prescription drug epidemic is in Pima County, and now authorities are working hard to find a solution.

Officials from the Pima County Health Department say in 2015 alone, local hospitals treated 801 people for prescription opioid poisoning.

That's up from 661 people in 2014.

According to the Governor's Office of Youth Faith and Family, Arizona now has the 15th highest overdose death rate in the United States.

Earlier this week, 20 chiefs of police from across the country met in Phoenix to address the addiction epidemic.

They worked on new treatment plans and affordable rehab options.

Arizona Governor Doug Ducey also vowed to crack down on prescription drug abuse.

On Monday, he signed an executive order limiting the amount of pain killers some patients can be prescribed.

Ducey ordered the state's employee insurance plan and its Medicaid plan to limit narcotic painkiller prescriptions.

"We lost 401 Arizonans in the last year due to this issue," he said. "We know that there is a problem and we're acting on it."

According to the National Institute of Drug Abuse, women are dying at a faster rate than men.

Between 1999 and 2010, deaths from opioid pain relieved increased five-fold for women, versus 3.6 times among men, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

If you or someone you know needs help, you can find resources to help you recover HERE:

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