There seems to be no end to the damage that opioid painkillers are having in our society. The latest sign that the epidemic is causing widespread public health damage is highlighted in this abstract published in the American Journal of Public Health where the researchers found a huge increase in the number of drivers killed while under the influence of prescription painkillers.
The prevalence of prescription opioids detected in fatally injured drivers analyzed in the six study states increased from 1.0% in 1995 to 7.2% in 2015. The researchers looked at drivers who died within 1 hour of a crash in California, Hawaii, Illinois, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and West Virginia. Those states routinely test for drugs in people who have died in car crashes.
It's no secret that Arizona and the U.S. are in the midst of an unprecedented opioid epidemic. Public health professionals, healthcare providers, managed care organizations and first responders have been implementing interventions to improve prescribing practices, better manage addiction, and quickly intervene during overdoses to mitigate the epidemic- yet the crisis has worsened. Policy makers in Arizona and across the nation, including the governor, have taken note and are prioritizing resources and policy directives to mitigate the crisis.
Our Fall AzPHA Conference and Annual Meeting (September 28) will focus on this critical public health crisis. The conference, titled Arizona's Opioid Epidemic: Evidence - Interventions - Policy, will present recent Arizona opioid epidemic data and will explore interventions and future policy initiatives within public health, healthcare and managed care systems, first responders, state government, and county health departments to mitigate the epidemic.
Sign up today at www.azpha.org and take advantage of our early bird registration rates.