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Public Health State of Emergency - Opioid Overdose Epidemic

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Arizona Health Alert Network

Governor Ducey has declared a state of emergency in response to the opioid abuse epidemic in Arizona.  More than two Arizonans die every day due to opioid overdose. As part of the Governor’s emergency declaration, ADHS will be providing recommendations on elements for required enhanced surveillance of opioid overdoses and deaths, and naloxone administration dispensing and reporting.

There must be a reduction in dangerous opioid use in Arizona.  Clinicians are urged to apply the practices in the Arizona Opioid Prescribing Guidelines (Acute/Chronic Pain) or the CDC Guideline for Prescribing Opioids (Chronic Pain).

  • Consider non-opioid pain treatment alternatives first; opioids are not the first-line therapy for most chronic pain.    
  • If initiating opioids, use the lowest effective dosage and limit initial prescriptions to 7 days (per AHCCCS Policy) or 3 days (per CDC Guidelines).
  • Check the Arizona Controlled Substances Prescription Monitoring Program prior to prescribing opioids.  
  • Take a detailed medication history. Avoid combined use of opioids and benzodiazepines, and advise patients of the risk of adverse events.
  • Co-prescribe naloxone to patients at higher risk for overdose, including history of overdose or substance use, opioid dosages ≥50 MME/day (calculate) or concurrent benzodiazepine use. 

To help Arizona meet the demand for opioid treatment, clinicians can also consider becoming a buprenorphine –waived provider.  An eight-hour buprenorphine training course is required.


Arizona's Declaration of Emergency

Arizona Clinical Guidelines and References

Online Arizona CME: Safe and Effective Opioid Prescribing while Managing Acute and Chronic Pain

CDC Opioid Guide Mobile App


Thank you,
Arizona Health Alert Network

Tags:  ADHS 

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Confirmed Mumps in Arizona

Posted By Administration, Thursday, April 20, 2017

Arizona Health Alert Network

There have been four confirmed cases of mumps in Arizona over the past month. Nationally, there has been a dramatic increase in reported mumps, with four states reporting recent outbreaks. There were 5,700 cases in 2016, and already 2,000 in 2017.

Mumps can cause pain, tenderness, and swelling of one or both parotid salivary glands as well as other complications including:

  • Orchitis
  • Oophoritis
  • Encephalitis
  • Meningitis
  • Deafness

Providers should report suspect mumps cases to the local health department as well as collect specimens for testing, including: 

  • Buccal swab
  • Urine
  • Serum

Ensure your patients are fully vaccinated against mumps.

To report cases or for additional information, contact the local health department


For more information on mumps, visit


Thank you,
Arizona Health Alert Network

Tags:  ADHS 

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New Public Service Campaign Teaches Arizona Youth about the Dangers of E-cigarettes

Posted By Administration, Friday, October 28, 2016

Arizona Department of Health Services


ADHS NEWS RELEASE                                                   For Immediate Release | Oct. 24, 2016

Media Contact | Holly Ward

Direct | 602.542.1094

Mobile | 480.327.7252

New Public Service Campaign Teaches Arizona Youth about the Dangers of E-cigarettes

As marketing of e-cigarettes is increasing, the percentage of youth using the products is rising

PHOENIX – The Arizona Department of Health Services launched a new public awareness campaign today that teaches youth about the dangers of nicotine and e-cigarettes. The campaign, called “Vape is a Lie,” teaches Arizona youth that many of the same dangerous chemicals found in traditional tobacco products are also found in e-cigarettes, but are often disguised with flavors that appeal to young people.

Vape is a Lie features a series of three public service announcements and a website,, where Arizona youth can learn more about the dangerous chemicals commonly found in e-cigarettes, often referred to as vape pens, and the consequences of becoming addicted to nicotine.

“There is no safe level of nicotine for children,” said Dr. Cara Christ, director of the Arizona Department of Health Services. “Based on the research we conducted with several youth focus groups, there is a misconception that using a vape pen is not as dangerous as a regular cigarette. The truth is there are many of the same dangerous chemicals in a vape pen that are in a cigarette, including nicotine which is a highly addictive chemical.”

Dr. Christ said Arizona youth understand the dangers of tobacco, which is reflected in the decrease in the rate of youth in the state who have tried tobacco once or are regular users. The percentage of Arizona’s high school youth who have ever tried smoking has decreased from 46 percent in 2011 to 37 percent in 2015, a decrease of almost 20 percent, according to the Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System survey. Youth who are current smokers dropped from 17 percent in 2011 to 10 percent in 2015, a decrease of more than 40 percent.

“The number of children in our state who are using nicotine products continues to decrease every year, which is great news for Arizona,” Dr. Christ said. “While the number of youth tobacco users is decreasing, the number of kids using e-cigarettes is increasing. With flavors like bubble gum, berry slushie, and peanut butter and jelly, it is clear that vape pens are targeted for youth.”

A 2016 Centers of Disease Control and Prevention Vital Signs report showed e-cigarette companies have increased advertising spending nationwide, from $6.4 million in 2011 to $115 million in 2014. During the time e-cigarette ads have increased, there are also increases in use among US youth. From 2011 to 2014, e-cigarette use increased from less than one percent to almost four percent among middle school students and from less than two percent to 13 percent among high school students.

“Prevention of high risk behaviors that can have a negative impact on health is a critical component of public health,” said Dr. Christ. “We know youth in Arizona are smart and well informed about the dangers of tobacco. Our goal with this campaign is to give youth the truth about the potential dangers of using e-cigarettes.”

To learn more about the Vape is a Lie campaign and to learn about the potential dangers of e-cigarettes, visit Students interested in the STAND youth coalitions can go online to

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About us:

The Arizona Department of Health Services is responsible for leading Arizona’s public health system including responding to disease outbreaks, licensing health and childcare facilities, operating the Arizona State Hospital, and improving the overall health and wellness of all Arizonans.



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Adult Smoking Rate in Arizona Drops

Posted By Administration, Monday, October 10, 2016

NEWS RELEASEFor Immediate Release |Sept. 27, 2016

Media Contact | Holly Ward
Direct | 602.542.1094
Mobile | 480.327.7252

New Data Shows Adult Smoking Rate in Arizona Drops to Historic Low

More than 200,000 Arizonans Quit Smoking in the Last Five Years

PHOENIX – New data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that the adult smoking rate in Arizona has dropped to a historic low of 14 percent. The new 2015 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System report shows the percentage of Arizona adults who smoke has dropped from 19.3 percent in 2011.

This decrease translates to more than 200,000 Arizonans who quit smoking over the last five years. Smoking is a leading cause of death in the United States and Arizona, which is why helping people quit smoking is a top priority of the Arizona Department of Health Services.

“I am excited to see this significant decrease in the number of people smoking in our state,” said Dr. Cara Christ, director of the Arizona Department of Health Services. “As we all know, smoking causes several negative health effects such as heart disease, cancer, respiratory disease, and stroke.”

The impact this drop has on our state reaches far beyond the 200,000 people who made the positive choice to quit smoking, according to Dr. Christ.

“Secondhand smoke is also harmful to family members who don’t smoke, especially children,” said Dr. Christ. “The more people who make the choice to quit, the more lives will be improved in Arizona. As the saying goes, when you quit tobacco, you put more years in your life and more life in your years.”

In addition to the positive health benefits of quitting smoking, reducing tobacco use represents a positive impact on the Arizona economy. Several studies indicate that as tobacco use declines, the financial burden related to workplace productivity, increased medical expenses, and premature death is also reduced. Far beyond the price of a pack of cigarettes, the true cost of smoking must take into account several alarming consequences, such as premature disability and death, lost earnings, increased medical expenses, and lower property values.

“Our goal is to have the lowest smoking rates in the United States,” said Dr. Christ. “We are working hard to achieve that goal so more of our citizens can lead longer, healthier lives.”

To help people quit smoking, the Arizona Department of Health Services operates the Arizona Smokers’ Helpline, or ASHLine. The ASHLine offers free individual counseling to people who want to quit any tobacco product. The ASHLine can also offer free nicotine replacement therapy such as the patch, lozenges, and nicotine gum for up to four weeks. Anyone interested in quitting smoking can call the ASHLine at 1-800-556-6222, or at

The ASHLine is funded by Prop 200, the Tobacco Tax and Health Care Act passed by Arizona voters in 1994, which increased the state sales tax on tobacco products and was designed in part to reduce tobacco use in Arizona.

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