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Hands holding a vial of Naloxone
March 24, 2023
March 24, 2023

Increased naloxone distribution counteracts rising fentanyl and counterfeit pill deaths, saves lives

Arizona has seen an alarming rise of fentanyl and counterfeit pill deaths; in 2021, 96% of opioid deaths involved prescription or synthetic drugs. Naloxone, the opioid overdose reversal drug, has been proven to save lives.  

The Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System (AHCCCS), the state’s Medicaid agency, used problem-solving techniques to identify an immediate need to increase naloxone distribution and build public awareness about its efficacy. 

The Substance Abuse Coalition Leaders of Arizona, composed of substance abuse prevention coalitions statewide, created a toolkit and a statewide media campaign to increase public awareness of the availability of naloxone. The campaign coupled forums, presentations, training and prevention programming events to leverage naloxone distribution in Arizona communities. 

AHCCCS funded two major naloxone distribution projects through Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS) and Sonoran Prevention Works (SPW). ADHS mainly focused on distribution through law enforcement agencies, county health departments, emergency departments and community-based organizations. SPW focused on distribution to active users.

In federal fiscal year 2021, 156,354 doses of naloxone were distributed through State Opioid Response Grants, representing a 178% increase over the prior year. The increase is directly attributable to the increased community-based distribution efforts of AHCCCS and the substance abuse prevention coalitions statewide.