Tucson Officers Take Steps to Combat the Opioid Epidemic

Learn More About the Opioid Epidemic

Opioid abuse has become a highly pervasive, all-too-common issue within the United States. With millions of people abusing prescription pain medications like Vicodin, OxyContin, fentanyl, and morphine, it comes as no surprise that the abuse of heroin has also increased. The abuse of prescription painkillers often produces pleasurable effects including relaxation and euphoria, which can cause many people to seek out these substances to abuse for recreational or self-medicating purposes. However, constantly chasing a prescription painkiller high can become extremely expensive, which is why many people who have abused these substances are turning to the abuse of heroin, as it is much cheaper, produces the same effects, and is, unfortunately, more accessible than prescription painkillers.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 13,000 people nationwide lost their lives to heroin overdoses last year alone, which is a number greater than those who lost their lives to gun violence. Yet, these deaths and this issue are not discussed or nationally covered by the media nearly as much as those that were caused by gun violence. In some respects, this is still because a stigma exists surrounding opioid and heroin abuse, making it much more complicated for people to talk about in an educational, non-threatening manner.

The Opioid Epidemic in Tucson, Arizona

Regardless of how these deaths are being covered by news media, it does not take away the fact that the problem still exists and continues to grow; especially in Tucson Arizona. Therefore, one of the most effective ways to help combat heroin and other opioid overdoses when they occur is through the use of Narcan, a nasal spray medication that is effective in reversing the effects of an opioid overdose within minutes. Thus far, many states have supplied their first responders, fire fighters, and police officers with the nasal spray, and some states have even made it available to the public. However, within the greater Tucson area, not everyone who should have it does – but that is about to change.

What’s Being Done in Tucson, Arizona?

Following trend with the rest of the country, the Tucson police department will be supplying approximately 400 of their officers with Narcan to carry with them while on the job. One of the primary reasons for this is because, even though firefighters in Tucson carry Narcan, police officers often times arrive at the scene before the firefighters do and, in turn, see victims of opioid overdoses either suffer severe, long-term medical problems, or even death, because they were not appropriately equipped with this life-saving drug.

It will take $20,000 to supply these officers with the nasal spray, however, the Tucson police department is confident that the benefits will outweigh the costs, as many lives within the area will be saved as a result.

If you or someone you love is struggling with an opioid addiction, please reach out and contact a treatment center in Pima County today.