OPIOID CRISIS Arizona’s Governor’s Request for Prayer
Recently, Governor Doug Ducey met with Hal and Cheryl Sacks and a number of Arizona pastors, where he shared about the opioid crisis facing the state and nation and asked for our prayers.
In 2016, 50,000 people across the country died from a single cause: opioid overdose. This number is a single-year record and has continued to increase, becoming the leading cause of death among those under 50 years of age — ahead of automobile accidents and gun violence.
In Arizona alone, 790 people died, equating to two deaths every day. According to the Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS), the state is on track to reach or surpass that level in 2017.
In short, we are facing a nationwide epidemic — one that many are saying is more devastating and widespread than the AIDS/HIV crisis more than three decades ago.
What is an “opioid”?
A class of drugs used to reduce pain, opioids include fentanyl, prescription opioids such as morphine, methadone, and Vicodin, and heroin. As the body develops a tolerance for the narcotic, more is needed to feel “normal.” Prescription opioids are used under medical supervision to treat many conditions, including cancer, injuries, arthritis or chronic pain.
A staggering 80 percent of those who abuse heroin, a highly addictive opiate producing euphoria, started by misusing prescription opioids, and about 3-4 percent of patients who use prescription opioids move on to heroin. Such addiction is devastating to all of us.
Governor Doug Ducey takes action
Tragically, Arizona has seen a 74 percent increase in opioid overdoses in just four years. On June 5, 2017, Gov. Doug Ducey formed the Arizona Substance Abuse Task Force and signed a ground-breaking emergency declaration to address the epidemic. This response includes:
- Development of guidelines to educate healthcare providers on responsible prescribing practices.
- Plans to prevent prescription opioid drug abuse through appropriate prescribing regulations.
- Development and training for law enforcement professionals in the carry and use of naloxone (Narcan) used in emergency situations to counteract the effect of an opioid overdose.
- Expedited reporting to provide more accurate and up-to-date information. This includes preparations for further legislative actions in September 2017.
One week later, the governor ordered ADHS to issue unprecedented weekly updates of opioid overdose statistics to monitor the epidemic’s status in real time.
Four out of 10 adults know someone addicted to pain killers. Because of their relative availability, opioid pain medications cast a wide net — ensnaring what can best be described as a full-spectrum demographic that includes all ages, education and income levels. Let us never forget that behind each statistic and each regulation there is a real person in need of help.
Visit the Arizona Department of Health Services site for up-to-date information and statistics on the opioid crisis.
- Almighty God, grant insight and favor for Gov. Ducey to work across the aisle with Arizona legislators as they build partnerships to implement an all-hands-on-deck strategy to curb this epidemic. Bring forth Your solutions to this problem.
- You said in James 1:5, “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.” We ask You, on behalf of our governor and legislators, for wisdom to solve this epidemic.
- Father, we ask You to keep our law enforcement and first responders safe, give them discernment, knowledge and Your compassion as they deal with these opioid victims. “God, You are our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.” Psalm 46:1
- Lord Almighty, uncover all healthcare fraud and opioid scams and expose and convict doctors, nurses, and pharmacists who have chosen to violate their oaths and put greed ahead of their patients. We praise You, Father, for yesterday’s reported healthcare fraud takedown, the largest in American history.
- Deliver and bring your salvation to all those who have fallen victim to the addiction of opioids. Loving God, You… desire all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. 1Timothy 2:4
- Father God, protect their families and children and heal and deliver their newborn babies who are brought into this world with drug-withdrawal symptoms. “The LORD is (You are) gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love. The LORD is good to all….” Psalm 145:8-9 NIV