Located about 30 minutes northwest of downtown Phoenix, Peoria was established in 1886 as a humble agricultural community. Since incorporating on June 7, 1954, Peoria has blossomed as a rapidly growing, modern city that offers a high quality of living in the natural beauty of the Sonoran Desert. Today, it boasts 191,000 residents and is home to Lake Pleasant Regional Park – a true oasis in the desert.

The 23,000-acre park is home to two marinas. It’s popular for boating, fishing, water skiing, kayaking, camping, and scuba diving. Residents also enjoy access to 570 acres of parks. In addition, it has more than 60 miles of hiking, biking, and horseback riding trails. It’s easy to see how Peoria was ranked the #1 city to live, work, and play in Arizona. (Ranking Arizona, 2021).

However, as the saying goes, all that glitters is not gold. There is a somber side to this thriving city and its sister cities and towns that make up Maricopa County. The death rate due to overall drug poisoning in Maricopa County exceeds the rates of both Arizona and the United States. In Maricopa County alone between October 2018 and September 2019, there were 1,389 drug-related overdose deaths. 

Peoria is not alone. The opioid epidemic is a nationwide problem, affecting both rural and urban communities. Between January 2020 and 2021 in the U.S., 94,134 people died of a drug overdose. This represents an increase of more than 30 percent from the previous 12 months. It’s also a record for the most such deaths in a single year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Arizona had 2,670 overdose deaths in the year ending January 2021, which represented a 32% increase from the previous year. The majority of these deaths involved synthetic opioids. Drug rehab programs in Peoria, AZ are few and far between which adds to the epidemic.

The Fentanyl Epidemic in Peoria, AZ

Fentanyl is classified as a powerful synthetic opioid that can be fatal even in small doses. It is 50% more potent than heroin and 100 times more potent than morphine. Fentanyl has become a focus in both the medical and law enforcement communities, with both Peoria and Maricopa County seeing a rise in the death toll from fentanyl. Overdose deaths involving fentanyl and other synthetic opioids in Maricopa County totaled 420 in 2018. Fentanyl deaths accounted for 18% of all Arizona overdoses that year.

It has become more common for counterfeit prescription pills that resemble Xanax, oxycodone, and other medications. In addition, illicit drugs, such as cocaine and heroin have been found to be laced with fentanyl. Often illegal drugs such as heroin and cocaine are laced with fentanyl, too. Unsuspecting consumers often do not realize they are consuming fentanyl, putting them at risk of an overdose.

Fentanyl and other synthetic opioids are sometimes found in drugs prescribed as pain relievers. They are often prescribed to treat patients with chronic or severe pain or who experience pain after surgery. Outpatient rehab programs surrounding Peoria, AZ continue seeing an influx of patients needing treatment for synthetic opioids such as fentanyl.

Prescription Drug Use Affects Arizonans

There’s no doubt the misuse of and addiction to opioids, including prescription pain relieversheroin, and fentanyl, is a serious national crisis that affects public health as well as social and economic welfare. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that the total economic burden of prescription opioid misuse alone in the United States is $78.5 billion a year, including the costs of healthcare, lost productivity, addiction treatment, and criminal justice involvement.

This national crisis started in the late 1990s when pharmaceutical companies reassured the medical community that patients would not become addicted to prescription opioid pain relievers, and providers began to prescribe them at greater rates. In fact, Cardinal Health, a pharmaceutical distributor, provided 250 million opioid pills in Arizona from 2006 to 2012, the third-highest number of any distributor.

This led to misuse of these medications before it became clear that they could be highly addictive. Opioid overdose rates began to increase. In 2017, more than 47,000 Americans died as a result of an opioid overdose, including prescription opioids. In 2019, an average of 38 people died each day from overdoses involving prescription opioids, totaling more than 14,000 deaths. This number represented more than 28 percent of all opioid overdoses that year. 

Arizona Prescription Opioids Statistics

In 2018, Arizona providers wrote 50.7 opioid prescriptions for every 100 persons. This is compared to the average U.S. rate of 51.4 prescriptions. That year, there were 362 deaths from opioid prescriptions in Arizona, and in 2019, there were 364. 

In Maricopa County, opioids (including prescription opioids and heroin) killed 898 people between October 2018 and September 2019, and more than 75 percent of all opioid overdose deaths involved prescription opioids and fentanyl.

Arizona’s Fight with Drug Addiction

In 2017, Governor Doug Ducey issued a public health emergency declaration that called for statewide efforts to help reduce opioid deaths across Arizona. The actions included in the declaration included: 

  • New mandated reporting of suspected opioid overdoses, deaths, neonatal abstinence syndrome, naloxone (a drug given to reverse an overdose) dispensed by pharmacists, and naloxone administered by first responders and others 
  • New rules in licensed healthcare facilities for opioid prescribing and treatment 
  • Updated Arizona Opioid Prescribing Guidelines 
  • Training of law enforcement agencies on administering naloxone and distribution of free naloxone to these agencies
  • Recommendations to the Governor in the first Opioid Action Plan and Opioid Overdose Epidemic Response Report, and passage of the Arizona Opioid Epidemic Act on January 26, 2018.

The Opioid Action Plan

The Opioid Action Plan includes additional resources provided through the Opioid Epidemic Act and federal grants, which resulted in some major steps forward, including but not limited to: 

  • Expansion of treatment for people suffering from opioid use disorder, including 24/7 drug rehab centers in Peoria, AZ and surrounding cities.
  • New 24/7 Opioid Assistance and Referral Line for consultations for healthcare providers and information for the public 
  • New Pain and Addiction Curriculum developed with input and consensus of 17 health-profession schools in Arizona 

Governor Ducey signed the Arizona Opioid E-Prescribing Requirement in February 2019, which requires all Arizona providers to issue any Schedule II drug prescriptions considered opioids electronically. The policy took effect in January 2020. 

Finding Alcohol and Drug Rehab in Peoria, AZ

There are many options for those seeking alcohol and drug rehab in Peoria, AZ and the surrounding areas. Options range from outpatient and intensive outpatient programs to day treatment and medication-assisted treatment. Fortunately, insurance carriers today are required to provide coverage for drug and alcohol rehab, according to the Affordable Care Act that was passed in 2008. Depending on your coverage and the company you work with, you may have rehab insurance coverage for a portion of treatment or the entire amount. You will need to check with your insurance company first to see what options are covered and available for drug rehab and/or alcohol rehab for you or your loved one. Most insurance plans won’t cover any services that are started or completed without prior approval. 

If you’re worried about finances or the ability to take time off from work, there are many options for help. The Family and Medical Leave Act offers many employees the right to take up to 12 weeks of time off from work to seek alcohol or drug addiction treatment. 

In addition, the Americans with Disabilities Act also offers protection for seeking addiction treatment in many cases. This act allows employees to take paid time off in order to seek help for alcohol or drug rehab. 

Outpatient Drug Rehab in Phoenix

If you or someone you love in the Peoria and Maricopa County areas struggles with addiction to drugs or alcohol, our program can help. Continuum Recovery Center offers outpatient treatment. Our treatment includes holistic, individualized, and compassionate methods. The methods we use help heal from substance use disorders and co-occurring mental health issues. 

We firmly believe that recovery is always possible. When you are ready to take that step, contact us to get started.