Arizona Laws Aimed At Curbing Opioid Deaths Praised

Published: Tuesday, April 18, 2017 - 5:00am
Updated: Tuesday, April 18, 2017 - 5:05am

Poison prevention experts are praising Gov. Doug Ducey for signing two bills aimed at curbing opioid deaths in Arizona. 

One bill requires Arizona physicians and pharmacists review and update a central database before prescribing opioids to any patient.

The other bill allows drug stores to sell Narcan, a nasal spray used by paramedics to reverse organ failure during an opioid overdose.

“They can give Narcan, then call 911, and see breathing increases, blood pressure, heart rate goes up, the critical moments that can save a life," said Dr. Mazda Shirazi with the Arizona Poison and Drug Information Center.

Shirazi says there are no serious side effects using Narcan, but relying on it to avoid calling for help in a crisis can be a deadly side effect in itself.

“Because, if it’s a synthetic medication that’s long lasting, Narcan will bring them out for about half an hour to 45 minutes, and the drug they have on board will kick back in and they go down again," Shirazi said.

Shirazi says the other danger is when a family member or friend mistakes heart attack or stroke symptoms for an overdose and trusts the Narcan will reverse the symptoms without paramedic help.

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