Governor Ducey: “The Time To Act Is Now”
PHOENIX, AZ (STL.News) Joined by Democratic and Republican legislators, state health officials, and local elected, law enforcement, community, and non-profit leaders, Governor Ducey Monday called a Special Session of the Legislature to provide immediate consideration of legislation combating the opioid epidemic.
“Today, Arizona is taking immediate and aggressive action against the opioid epidemic,” said Governor Ducey. “Our plan is the result of a months-long citizen and stakeholder engagement process and includes meaningful input from all stakeholders – Republicans and Democrats, law enforcement, substance abuse treatment providers, the health community, patient advocates, victims, and many more. I thank everyone, including legislative leadership from both parties, who has worked with us to put forward these important proposals that will save lives. The time to act is now, so let’s get to work and get this legislation passed.”
Last week, the governor, in conjunction with Democratic and Republican legislative leaders, released The Arizona Opioid Epidemic Act, legislation to address opioid addiction and overdose deaths through actions like expanding treatment and improving enforcement and oversight. Here’s what legislative leaders had to say:
“I look forward to working with Governor Ducey and my colleagues at the Legislature in addressing the opioid crisis,” said Senate President Steve Yarbrough. “This merits our undivided attention to ensure that we pass a comprehensive package that curtails out-of-control prescribing activity and gives focus to treatment and prevention. Far too many people have suffered the consequences of addiction. It’s important to act expediently.”
“This is an important first step in addressing the devastating opioid epidemic in Arizona,” said Senate Minority Leader Katie Hobbs. “We’re pleased that Governor Ducey incorporated many of our ideas into this legislation, especially the commitment of real dollars to provide treatment for those who are opioid addicted but don’t qualify for AHCCCS or private insurance. We won’t win this battle with one bill, so it’s critical that we build upon this over time to break the systemic causes of addiction.”
“I’m pleased that Governor Ducey and legislators from both parties have come together to ensure Arizonans get the tools they need to combat our opioid epidemic,” said Speaker of the House J.D. Mesnard. “The Arizona Opioid Epidemic Act will get the urgent consideration it needs in the Legislature, and I’m confident it will receive broad support in the process.”
“There is no explicitly Republican or Democratic solution to a crisis like this, so we appreciate the opportunity to help shape a plan that will save lives in all of the communities we represent,” said House Democratic Leader Rebecca Rios. “We all recognize that more work will need to be done once the bill has passed, but this shows that when we work together the result is good policy that benefits all Arizonans. Because the Governor included Democrats early on, we were able to bring the incredible in-depth healthcare policy experience that exists among our members and staff to the table to help ensure this plan has a real and immediate impact.”