Tag Archives: Arizona Drug Epidemic

Addiction and Suicide Rates Soaring in Arizona Cities

Drug addiction and mental health problems go hand in hand like the circle of love and marriage. We use drugs to numb pain, physical or emotional, real or imagined, and because we have mental health problems. And we sometimes have mental health problems because we use too many drugs.

Arizona has had a growing problem of both drug addiction and mental health crises. Phoenix and her suburbs have been particularly hard hit, especially Gilbert, AZ, which has been the center of opioid and heroin addiction in the state for more than 10 years.

Arizona’s Growing Mental Health Crisis 

Depression is a serious mental health problem. It can be fatal.

In 2015, suicide took more than 44,000 lives in America, making self-murder a significant health issue that affects people of all ages, races and ethnicities. In Arizona, suicide is such a severe issue it is ranked as the eighth-leading cause of death, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) data.

According to statistics taken from CDC and Arizona Department of Health Services reports, the numbers around this deadly condition in Arizona are shocking:

  • Arizona had 10 child suicides (ages 14 and under) in 2015.
  • Arizona had 60 teen suicides (ages 15 to 19) in 2015.
  • The state had 1,276 suicides overall in 2015.
  • Suicide is the leading cause of death for those aged 10 to 14.
  • Taking one’s own life is the second-leading cause of death for Arizonans aged 15 to 34.
  • There are 2.5 times more deaths from suicide annually than homicide.
  • For each successful suicide attempt, there are 25 failed attempts — with many leading to hospitalization.
  • More women than men have suicidal thoughts and attempts.
  • More men than women are likely to die by suicide.

Arizona Suicide Rates Have Tripled

From 2001 to 2011, the suicide rates in Arizona have soared.

Of note is the suburb of Gilbert, near Phoenix. According to the Health Status Report for Cities and Towns in Maricopa County, the suicide rate increased threefold during the decade. In 2011, there were 31 suicides; in 2000, there were only 7, according to the Maricopa County Department of Public Health. The ratios per capita have increased as well.

The Gilbert Police Department has said it receives an average of four suicide threats or attempts each week, and one suicide completion per week. Mercy Gilbert Medical Center reports the number of mental health consultations rising over the past several years, some of which are related to suicide attempts.

Youth Suicides in Arizona

Last summer, a cluster of teen suicides rocked the community of Gilbert. Six teenagers hanged themselves, and a seventh fell victim to suicide by shooting oneself. Tragically, these young people, unknown to each other, lived less than 12 miles apart from each other. All committed suicide within a six-week period.

Subsequently, Gilbert Public Schools underwent Suicide Alertness Training to help educators recognize students who need help and to connect them with the appropriate resources.

Teen suicide prevention includes:

  • Improved communication between parents and teens.
  • Keeping a close watch on teens’ cellphones.
  • When depression is present, asking outright whether the student plans to kill himself/herself.
  • Monitoring social media.
  • Removing guns, belts and other potential means of self-destruction from the home.
  • Watching for drug or alcohol use.
  • Watching for teens talking about dying or death.
  • Being wary of teens becoming impulsive or taking unnecessary risks.

However, it’s not just the youth in Gilbert that are dying from suicide; it affects people of all ages. Friends and family may think their loved one is just depressed, but depression can become such a severe mental health crisis that suicide seems like a rational solution at the time.

Suicide Risk Factors

People at risk for suicidal behavior fall into all age groups. Some common risk factors are:

  • Having a mental health disorder
  • Having a substance use disorder
  • Stressful life events
  • Prolonged stress factors
  • Previous suicide attempts
  • Family history of suicide

According to America’s Health Ranking for Arizona in 2016, families concerned about a loved one should restrict access to firearms, lethal doses of medications and alcohol in the home.

Lack of Access to Mental Health Treatment in Arizona

It doesn’t help matters that Arizona is the second-worst state at addressing mental health issues. According to studies, adults and youth with a diagnosed condition, serious thoughts of suicide, and substance abuse problems have serious unmet needs in Arizona.

Lack of access to effective mental health treatment means:

  • Arizonans have unmet mental health needs.
  • Some Arizona residents don’t receive mental health treatment at all.
  • Residents are often unable to see doctors because of the cost.
  • Not enough primary care physicians are screening for mental illness.
  • Insufficient mental health professionals to meet the need in Arizona.
  • There are long wait times to get treatment.
  • A significant need for community services.
  • Insurance has holes in coverage concerning mental health services.

Heroin and Prescription Drug Addiction Arizona on the Rise 

Last year, President Trump declared that America was in the throes of a national public health emergency because of what opioids are doing to our citizens. Arizona is no exception. An American crisis, an Arizonan crisis, opioids and heroin have taken over our streets.

Derived from the age-old poppy plant, opioids are synthetic and organic drugs made from opium. One of the strongest and most addictive of these drugs is heroin, commonly snorted or liquefied and then injected. People caught up in the Gilbert, AZ heroin epidemic just call it dope.

Prescription drug addiction in Arizona is often a result of opioid use. Examples of commonly prescribed opioids are:

  • Percocet
  • Oxycodone/OxyContin
  • Methadone
  • Hydrocodone/Norco
  • Vicodin
  • Fentanyl

In the current opioid epidemic, these medications are easily ill gotten. Whether it be from a relative’s medicine cabinet or through illicit means, prescription drug addiction is rampant across the country and in Arizona.

Opioid Deaths Skyrocketing

New reports are showing a surge in opioid overdose deaths in Arizona. In fact, 2016 marked the highest number of deaths in 10 years. Heroin and prescription opioid painkillers are to blame.

People are starting out by taking painkillers for a legitimate reason, then getting hooked and moving on to something stronger. Accidentally taking too much opioid medication causes cessation of breathing and death.

According to the Arizona Department of Health Services in 2016, the following statistics alarmed state officials:

  • Heroin deaths have tripled since 2012.
  • Every day, two Arizonans die from an opioid overdose.
  • The heroin death rate is rising faster than that of prescription opioids.
  • Hospitals saw more than 51,000 opioid-related encounters.

Because prescription opioid deaths are soaring and the government is cracking down on doctors who prescribe too much Vicodin, Percocet and OxyContin, it’s no surprise people are turning to heroin for relief.

Drug Rehab near Gilbert, AZ

Because of the growing problem of heroin arrests, drug addiction and mental health crises in the Phoenix area, many are seeking out drug rehabs all over Arizona.

The city of Gilbert has seen heroin, a cheaper and more accessible alternative to prescription painkillers, cause an increase in narcotic-related arrests by 300 percent in the past 10 years. Regardless of the changing prescribing guidelines set forth by the government, when people are addicted, they find a way to get the drug they crave.

Treatment centers in Arizona are helping people who are addicted to heroin. The first seven to 10 days going without heroin is excruciating without medical help. Thus, professional drug rehab facilities wean people off opioids and keeps them as comfortable as possible.

If you or your son needs help with a mental health or substance abuse problem in Arizona, call Reflections Recovery Center while there is still time. Many of our clients have dealt with both a mental health issue like depression and a substance use disorder like heroin addiction. We have caring professionals waiting to help.

The Arizona families who have had to deal with these problems are in the thoughts of the team at Reflections Recovery Center in Prescott, AZ. For those facing thoughts of suicide, the situation can feel hopeless. However, depression is a treatable illness. There is help available.

See the Reflections Recovery Experience

Arizona Opioid and Heroin Trends in 2018

Statistics on Arizona Opioid and Heroin Trends

The United States makes up around 5 percent of the planet’s total population but uses approximately 80 percent of the opioid supply around the world. Additionally, one in four people who have been prescribed opioids for long periods in a primary care environment end up struggling with addiction.

Arizona Opioid Addiction Statistics 2018

Arizona High School Students Active Heroin Use - Reflections Recovery CenterFour out of 10 adults in Arizona know someone who struggles with an addiction to prescription painkillers.

In 2016, a total of 431 million opioid pills were prescribed to patients. That number of pills is enough for every person in the state of Arizona to have a two-and-a-half-week supply of opioids.

Opioid deaths, prescription drug deaths and heroin deaths have all increased since 2012. In fact, heroin fatalities in Arizona have tripled and opioid deaths have skyrocketed.

This all spells an epidemic that opiate drug rehabs in Arizona and throughout the nation are doing their best to clean up.

Estimated Non-Fatal Overdoses in the Past 8 Months

The crisis has taken such a toll in Arizona – and throughout the United States – that statistics are unfolding in months, rather than years. Some areas of the country are harder hit than others, and Arizona is high on the list of states suffering from opioid deaths. As you might suspect, some parts of the state suffer more than others.

Metro Tucson Non-Fatal Overdoses

According to opioid overdose statistics for 2018, the metro area of Tucson contains five communities that all had an estimated number of more than 60 people who overdosed without dying:

  • Tucson Central
  • Tucson Foothills
  • Casas Adobes
  • Tucson East
  • Tucson South

Only Tucson Estates reported having zero non-fatal overdoses in the past eight months.

Metro Phoenix Non-Fatal Overdoses

Though the Tucson numbers regarding non-fatal overdoses are large, the metro area of Phoenix has seen more. In fact, 18 different communities in the metro area of Phoenix reported more than 60 non-fatal overdoses in the last eight months. There were no communities in metro Phoenix that reported zero non-fatal opioid overdoses.

Other Arizona County Non-Fatal Overdoses

Of all the other cities in Arizona, only Kingman, Prescott, Prescott Valley and Florence reported more than 60 non-fatal overdoses. The larger metro areas of Arizona reported numbers that were significantly larger regarding non-fatal overdoses than the other areas of the state.

Common Arizona Ages for Opioid Use

To get a sense of how the opioid crisis is impacting state residents, consider the ages of those most affected. The statistics from this year and the last decade highlight who becomes dependent and at what point addiction takes hold.

Most Frequent Ages for Possible Overdoses This Year

Arizonans between the ages of 25 and 34 are the ones who experience the most opioid overdoses. Residents of age 75 and older reportedly were the least likely group to experience opioid overdoses. Around 15 percent of these possible overdoses were fatal.

Children Affected by Opioid Addiction

Neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS) is a condition that occurs when a newborn is exposed to opioid drugs while in the mother’s womb. So far in 2018, there have been more than 600 cases in Arizona of babies born with possible drug-related withdrawal symptoms. A government report also said that 52 percent of mothers in these cases were being medically supervised while taking opioids while pregnant.

Fatalities Among Different Age Groups over Last 10 Years

Though 25 to 34 was the most common age group for possible overdoses over the past eight months, the most affected demographic has traditionally been a different one.

Overdose fatalities between 2007 and 2016 were the highest among Arizonans between the ages of 45 and 54. Other than children and teenagers 14 years old and younger, people aged 75 years and older were still the group that suffered the fewest amount of fatalities.

Overdose Hospitalizations and Deaths in Arizona

American Opioid Overdose Statistic InfographicFrom 2007 to 2016, hospitalizations due to prescription opioids rose by 64 per 100,000 people in Arizona. The peak was in 2011, with 162 hospitalizations per 100,000 people.

Of the possible opioid overdoses in the last eight months, 14 percent of those people were hospitalized in 2016 for a reason that involved opioid use. About 13 percent of the people who were hospitalized in 2016 died in the last eight months from a drug overdose.

As those statistics indicate, the period after someone is released from an overdose is a dangerous time.

Seeking help from a treatment center like the rehabilitation programs at Reflections Recovery Center is the best way to start turning things around. Reflections uses personalized treatments and the calming attributes of nature to offer support and comfort during this dangerous time.

Prescription Drug Overdoses and Fatalities in Arizona

Drug use statistics reveal that 39 percent of the people who experienced a possible opioid overdose in the past eight months had a prescription for opioids at least two months before their overdose. About 2 percent of the people who overdosed died as a result.

Of the fatal overdoses, 29 percent of them were using only prescription opioids and were not using any other types of drugs. Meanwhile, 32 percent of this group used more than one drug.

Though it is more dangerous to be taking multiple types of drugs, even just one prescription opioid medication can be fatal if taken too often or in large quantities.

The Use of Naloxone to Counteract Overdose

Many different emergency medical services and law enforcement professionals administered naloxone (an opioid overdose antidote) to Arizonans from mid-2017 through March 2018. In fact, EMS, law enforcement and other individuals administered nearly 4,500 doses outside of a hospital during this time frame.

Best Heroin Treatment Centers

If you’re looking for a drug rehab in Gilbert, AZ, Mesa, Chandler or Phoenix, consider heading up north a short ways instead. Prescott’s Reflections Recovery Center is located apart from the bustling metro areas and offers many desirable amenities and services.

Reflections offers a program, which, for many, is more conducive to long-term recovery than the standard experience. Reflections focuses on clinical and holistic treatment, as well as using the outdoors to help those in recovery get the tools they need to avoid relapse.

Learn About the Symptoms of Heroin Abuse

New Arizona Opioid Overdose and Addiction Statistics

Alarming Statistics Reveal Record-High Opioid-Related Deaths in Arizona

A report released last month by the Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS) shows that Arizona has not been spared from the opioid epidemic sweeping the nation.

The report revealed that, in Arizona alone:

  • The number of opioid deaths increased by 16% in one year (from 2015 to 2016).
  • The number of opioid-related deaths in the last four years has increased by 74 percent.
  • In 2016 alone, ADHS recorded 790 opioid overdose deaths. That’s an average of over two deaths every day.
  • Of those 790 opioid-related deaths, 482 were from prescription opioids. The other 308 were from heroin.
  • Opioid overdoses were the primary cause of death for more than half of the 1,497 drug overdose deaths in 2016.
  • The 45 to 54 age range was hit the hardest, followed closely by the 25 to 34 and 35 to 44 age ranges. People under the age of 55 accounted for 80 percent of opioid-related deaths.
  • The death rate among white non-Hispanics was nearly twice that of any other ethnic group, accounting for 77.5% of all opioid deaths from 2007-2016.

If the current trend continues, ADHS predicts that by 2019, Arizona will see more than 1,000 opioid deaths per year, and that half of those will be from heroin.

The report also states that the rise in overdose deaths cannot be accounted for by increases in Arizona’s population.

Arizona’s Response to the Opioid Epidemic

These harrowing statistics led Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey to declare a state-wide public health emergency on June 5, 2017. As a result, the governor’s office is providing additional resources to ADHS to better understand the problem and develop ways to address it.

Director of Health Services Dr. Cara Christ said in an interview that the first thing that can be done is to stop stigmatizing addiction, so that people will be more willing to come forward and get the help they need to overcome their addiction.

Tracking the Opioid Crisis in Arizona

Opioid Crisis in Arizona Statistics - Reflections RecoveryAs a result of the health emergency declaration, ADHS is now releasing real-time reports on the opioid epidemic in Arizona.

For the first two weeks that data was available (June 15-29, 2017):

  • 444 possible opioid overdoses were reported.
  • 36 of those overdoses were fatal.
  • 36 babies were born with neonatal abstinence syndrome.
  • 325 naloxone doses were administered by first responders (EMS, police and fire department).
  • 160 naloxone kits were distributed to the public by pharmacies.

You can view the most current Arizona opioid abuse statistics at azhealth.gov/opioid. The site also features information about the epidemic and what can be done by medical professionals, first responders and community members to address the problem.

The Cost of Opioid Addiction in Arizona

The ADHS report also revealed the approximate cost of the opioid crisis on the health care system. According to the best estimates available, the cost of opioid-related encounters went from $151 million in 2009 to $341 million in 2016 – a 125 percent increase.

The number of opioid-related medical encounters increased from just over 20,000 in 2009 to more than 51,000 in 2016.

What Is Causing the Opioid Epidemic in Arizona?

A number of factors contribute to the opioid crisis, including:

  • Using prescription painkillers for chronic pain, instead of for short-term acute pain
  • Misuse of painkillers by patients
  • Theft or misuse of unused medication by people who have access to a patient’s medicine

Although the medical community is taking measures to cut back on improper use of prescription opioid medication, many patients who are addicted turn instead to illegal opioids like heroin.

Opioid addiction requires professional treatment for detox and recovery. The intensity of the addiction makes it nearly impossible to quit without treatment, which is why anyone suffering from opioid addiction should seek professional help immediately. 

Learn what you need to know about prescription painkillers, their connection to heroin, and how to stay safe:

Prescription Drug Abuse Stats and Facts

Effective Ways to Prevent Relapse After Addiction Rehab

Completing an addiction recovery program is a huge accomplishment, and it’s the first step in living a long and healthy life. To maintain the new trajectory you started in treatment, you’ll need to tend to your recovery on an ongoing basis. This is a lifelong process and having some tips for preventing relapse can be helpful. While there is no magic solution to banish the possibility of relapse, you can apply some methods to stay on track.

Avoid Tempting Situations

The Four D's for Relapse PreventionIf you’re newly out of rehab, it might not be wise to meet up with your old friends. Some people decide to test their willpower and hang out with old friends who still use to prove it no longer affects them, but this is inherently dangerous. Stay clear of emotional and physical triggers, especially early in recovery. Avoid going places where there will be substance abuse, as well as people or places that remind you of times you used.

In the same regard, seek out a positive support network. Be around people who do not abuse substances and who support your new lifestyle. Unhealthy relationships and unhealthy people don’t have a place in your new life, as they will only tempt you back into your old one.

Observe the 4 D’s

Throughout the course of your treatment, we’ll help you prepare for the challenges of re-entering the real world. In rehab, your access to substances is restricted, but once you transition back to mainstream society, the only true control is yourself. For this reason, many mental health professionals suggest following the 4 Ds when cravings strike:


In other words, delay the decision to use. Sometimes, you struggle minute to minute, and those minutes can stretch into what seems like a lifetime. Remind yourself that it’s only a fraction of your day. The longer you successfully delay your decision, the weaker those cravings will become.


Take a series of deep, steady breaths when you experience a craving, as this will help calm your mind and slow your heart rate. Focus on the movement of your diaphragm – up and down, in and out. This will increase the amount of oxygen to your brain, which becomes restricted when we’re in panic mode.


Find something to do, other than using. This one is easier said than done because cravings can seem to take over your whole world. Do whatever you need to do to distract yourself from the craving, whether it’s cleaning your home, taking a walk, or calling a friend.


In other words, don’t panic. Once panic sets in, it’s easy to lose control. Think of how much stronger you’ll be for the experience, even if you don’t feel strong at the moment. Each time a craving passes, remind yourself of your inner strength. Positive thinking doesn’t have to be all sunshine and rainbows. It can be as simple as acknowledging when you conquer a challenge.

Acknowledge Co-Occurring Mental Disorders

Many who come through our doors suffer from a dual diagnosis. That’s when the substance dependency happens alongside a mental issue of some kind, like anxiety or depression. Part of staying ahead of your addiction is recognizing the role your mental disorder plays in it. To maintain your recovery effectively, you’ll have to tend to your substance abuse and your other mental health diagnoses, because you’ll have triggers for both.

Acknowledge the Journey

Remember, recovery is a journey, not a destination. And as with all journeys, the landscape will change over time.

In the earliest days of your recovery and beyond, your main priority should be your health. While boredom can be a problem for people newly out of rehab, so can having too much on your plate. Don’t cram too much into your schedule for the sake of being busy. Create balance and know your limits to minimize your stress. Getting plenty of exercise and sleep is also important. The more you tend to your health, the better off you’ll be.

One of the main problems people have after being out of treatment for a while is becoming too complacent.  It’s natural for motivation to wane over time, but perform a “recovery audit” once in a while. It’s not necessary to attend meetings forever, but find other ways to support your recovery efforts so that you don’t become complacent.

Continually striving to take care of yourself and knowing your triggers will help ensure your life is long and healthy.

Could a Man You Know Benefit from Treatment at Reflections?

Learn About Our Intervention Services

Meth and Heroin Are Growing Problems in Prescott and Across Arizona

The Drug Problems in Arizona

Drug overdoses are killing Americans at an alarming rate. From 2000 to 2014, there were almost half a million deaths across the country. The rates have been climbing steadily since the 1990s, but 2014 showed a sharp upwards spike, increasing 14 percent in 12 months.

Arizona has a particularly unsightly history when it comes to drug and alcohol abuse. In 2014 the state ranked sixth in prescription drug overdoses and tied for fourth for alcohol-related deaths. In fact, around 13.4 percent of the working-age deaths were attributed to alcohol in some way.

Cocaine has been highly abused in Arizona as well. The National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) reported approximately 1.5 million current cocaine users aged 12 or older in 2014. Adults aged 18 to 25 years showed the highest rate of cocaine usage. Yet it appears a new problem is on the horizon, quickly taking hold of the number one spot.

Methamphetamines, the New Number One

Methamphetamines, The New Number OneMethamphetamines have become incredibly pervasive in Arizona. In 2015 alone, authorities seized almost 6,400 pounds. Even more alarming, this number represents a massive 294 percent increase over the past six years. In 2010 only 1,613 pounds were seized. The usage rates have now surpassed cocaine, which is more difficult to procure.

Erica Curry is a spokeswoman for the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Phoenix Division. According to Curry, meth has been recognized as the most prevalent drug partly due to Mexican cartels. The cartels are shifting cocaine trafficking efforts to Europe, where they are more profitable.

The Switch to Methamphetamines

With cocaine trafficking shifting to Europe, people are forced to look for other types of stimulants. Many are switching to methamphetamine, also supplied by the cartel. Curry says meth is more profitable for dealers because of the high demand. Addicts may need to use as often as every few hours to maintain the sensation of euphoria.

One former Prescott area former addict said she smoked twice an hour. “Even at my job, I would find bathrooms,” she said. “I could lock myself in the bathroom, smoke meth, and then go out and finish my mail route.” Today she is a manager at a recovery center and has been clean for eight years.

The Dangers of Methamphetamines

One of the biggest problems with this drug is how quickly it takes over the user’s life. All behaviors and actions redirect to focus on staying high. Haney said she would be awake for four days in a row when she first started using. Then, she could only focus on being high. She lost considerable weight because she didn’t eat regularly.

Sarah Harmon had a similar experience a few years ago. She was homeless before the age of 20 and resorted to stealing food and clothing. “I didn’t feel human anymore,” she admitted. “[Meth] came before everything.”

Meth Smuggling In Arizona

Meth labs are quite rare in Arizona, although there are still occasional cases. For the most part, manufacturing takes place in Mexico because of the Combat Methamphetamine Act of 2005. This law was signed in by President George W. Bush to limit the decongestant pseudoephedrine, a major ingredient in meth. The law limits the amount of over-the-counter medicine one person can purchase. Further, it is tracked by unique product IDs.

In Mexico, on the other hand, there are no restrictions on pseudoephedrine purchases. Drug producers can create hundreds of pounds of methamphetamine at one time and cart it across the border. Curry says this equals “pure profit for the Mexican cartels.”

The smugglers also advance their techniques. Curry says they have found meth in lotions, shampoos, and even toys.

Heroin, the Number Two

Although meth easily takes the top slot for drug abuse, heroin is a strong contender. It can be used in smaller doses than methamphetamine, but is not as easy to acquire. Even so, thousands of people turn to the substance each year. In 2014, 605 people required emergency room treatment for heroin overdoses.

Why Heroin Is So Prominent

Heroin Related Emergency Room TreatmentsLike most drugs, heroin begins with legal prescription drugs. Christina Corieri is the Health and Human Services Advisor for Arizona Governor Doug Ducey. According to Corieri, 75 percent of heroin users begin with prescription pain relievers. This presents a unique environment for addiction, considering the amount of prescriptions dispensed in the United States. According to IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics, 4.3 billion prescriptions were filled in 2014 alone.

“If you look at the United States we actually represent only 5 percent of the world’s population, and we represent 80 percent of the prescription drugs,” says Corieri. This means it’s incredibly easy to procure drugs and lay the foundation for addiction. Once people cannot sustain their needs on prescriptions they turn to heroin – the street version.

The Addiction Mind-Set

One of the biggest problems with prescription drug addiction is people may become hooked on the pain relievers without realizing it. Brittany Pinkston became addicted to opiates after a hand injury when she was 17. Pinkston says she didn’t consider herself to have a problem because the pills came from a doctor. Yet, within a month she was completely dependent on the drugs to help her sleep and work.

The Heroin Effect

Once people transition to heroin, it can be nearly impossible for them to recover their lives. The drug is deadly, particularly because it is often cut with other substances to dilute it and make it more profitable for the manufacturers. These substances can range from caffeine to rat poison, causing their own interactions and potentially becoming more dangerous than heroin itself.

Heroin use is becoming more prevalent in the United States, despite its second place ranking in Arizona. The National Institute on Drug Abuse reports a six-fold increase in the total number of deaths from 2001 to 2014. Because heroin is a more cost-effective substitute it can drive the cycle of addiction much faster than some other substances.

 Seeking Treatment

Methamphetamine and heroin are both highly addictive and powerful substances, quickly becoming the drugs of choice for users. In many cases, the only way to recover is by seeking professional treatment. Reflections Recovery Center is Prescott, Arizona’s premier treatment facility. The trained professionals and proven techniques can be the key to forming healthier habits and coping mechanisms.

Reflections Recovery Has Been Treating Arizona Natives and Visitors From Neighboring States for Years, and Has Developed Successful Tactics in Providing Full Recovery From Heroin, Methamphetamine, Alcohol and Drugs

Heroin and Meth Recovery Program

Arizona Prescription Drug Abuse Statistics

Drug addiction is a serious issue on a national level. Here in Arizona, we face some unique challenges when it comes to drug abuse. Prescription medications are some of the most widely used – and abused – drugs in Arizona. Although prescription drugs may not immediately come to mind when you hear “drug abuse,” the statistics concerning prescription drug abuse in Arizona may surprise you.

Prescription drugs are the root of most illegal drug addictions and overdose-related fatalities. Addiction to these medications cost the state hundreds of millions of dollars every year for a variety of reasons, including medical care, prison maintenance, law enforcement, and educational platforms tailored for raising public awareness.

More Pills Than People

Arizona takes the number six spot on the list of states with the highest number of prescription drug abusers in the country. Surveys show that 8% of Arizona youth and 13% of adults reported prescription drug misuse. If you consider that people misusing prescriptions are likely wary of answering such a survey, then the real figures are probably higher.

Any prescription can potentially be misused or abused, but some medicines carry severe risks if taken too often or with other substances. The United States is in the midst of an opioid epidemic that has claimed tens of thousands of lives over the past decade. Most people may think of heroin when they hear the phrase “opioid abuse,” but most deaths actually stem from prescription opioid abuse. Patients either misuse their prescriptions, resulting in an overdose, or they develop a dependency on the prescription and turn to heroin – a widely available and much cheaper alternative – once the prescription runs out.

The Costs of Prescription Drug Abuse

The prescription drug problem in Arizona entails much more than just fatal abuse. The prescription drug problem costs Arizona taxpayers millions.

Medical Costs

Prescription drug abuse is the number one cause of all emergency room visits and hospitalizations for drug poisonings. The costs of these visits and lifesaving medical intervention total into the hundreds of millions every year and continue to rise. The average cost of an emergency room visit for medicinal poisoning is near $5,000.

Social Service Cases

Arizona emergency departments handle cases of opioid abuse and dependency. These numbers are also on the rise. In 2011, there were 9,512 cases – 2,391 of which involved youth and young adults. Additionally, Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome is a medical term that describes babies born addicted to opiates due to their mothers’ use while pregnant. Between the years of 2008 and 2013, three out of every 1,000 babies born in Arizona were diagnosed with it.

Law Enforcement Costs

Prescription drug abuse also affects law enforcement costs. The number of driving under the influence (DUI) arrests for drug use has doubled over the past decade. 2013 saw 4,073 arrests, representing a 99.4% increase. Arrest rates for narcotic drug possession increased 15% between 2010 and 2012.

Addressing the Roots of the Problem

These statistics may startle you. Educate yourself about the inherent dangers of prescription drug abuse. Although your doctor provides prescriptions, it’s important that you follow proper dosage directions and never use more than the recommended dose. As you take a drug, your body slowly develops a tolerance to it. As your tolerance increases, your body needs more of the drug to feel its effects. This is the onset of addiction.

Public Misconceptions

Prescription drug abuse has risen to a crisis situation due to several factors, including that prescription drug use is largely considered “socially acceptable.” Most people wouldn’t think twice upon hearing a friend or relative mention their use of prescription painkillers for a medical condition.

Many people also hold very unrealistic expectations for pain management. If a patient does not notice immediate or obvious effects from a dose of a prescription medication, he or she may be tempted to take more to address his or her pain.


Many health care professionals are quite lax about prescribing opiates and other habit-forming medicines. It is not uncommon for survey respondents to report the ease with which they can procure prescriptions and refills for painkillers. In other cases, doctors prescribe too large of a dose or too many doses for a particular patient. Opioids are powerful painkillers that can help patients manage great amounts of pain. These drugs are habit-forming, however, and dependency can manifest very quickly, even after following proper dosing instructions.

Dependency Borne From Good Intentions

Most drug abuse – especially heroin – starts with prescription drug use. The majority of doctors exercise reasonable caution when prescribing opioids because they are aware of the inherent dangers of these drugs. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case. A patient may develop a dependency that lasts longer than a prescription. Once the prescription drugs run out, he or she often turns to heroin as a replacement. Heroin is much cheaper than prescribed opioids and is readily available in most of the country.

Confronting the Issue in Arizona

In an effort to curb the tide of prescription drug abuse, Arizona has enacted some measures through several agencies, including the Arizona Criminal Justice Commission; the Governor’s Office of Youth, Faith, and Family; and the Board of Pharmacy. This collective effort is known as the “Arizona Prescription Drug Misuse and Abuse Initiative.” Over the past several years, the Initiative adopted a multi-systemic approach to address the prescription drug abuse problem in Arizona.

The Initiative partnered with professional organizations to educate healthcare practitioners about safe opioid prescribing practices and instituted rules for prescribing controlled substances. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a four-year $3.6 million grant to prevent prescription opioid overdose deaths. The Initiative has started implementing these funds.

Better Education Creates Healthier Citizens

One of the biggest areas of concentrated efforts is more education for doctors and health care professionals in terms of proper applications of opioid, interactions with other substances and medications, dosage limits, and recognizing indicators of habitual use in patients. Doctors must be able to identify patients who are most at risk for developing dependencies on prescription drugs, such as those who face severe chronic pain or undergo intensive surgeries with long-term recovery. In those situations, there needs to be alternative methods of treating patients without risking encouraging dependency.

Patients also must receive thorough instructions and warning about their prescriptions. Many people report that they simply receive a prescription and are sent on their way. They may use a prescription without any ideas about the inherent dangers before performing certain actions or engaging in activities such as driving. They also may not be aware of potential complications if they combine the prescription with other substances.

What Can You Do?

If you experience severe pain, you deserve a means to treat it. A prescription may be a perfectly viable option. However, it’s vital that you take the time to fully understand the risks associated with the drugs you take. Ask your doctor extensively about the do’s and don’ts of your prescription. Take care not to exceed the recommended dose. If you feel as though your dosage is too low, consult your doctor and express your concerns about managing your pain without developing a dependency.

Prescription drug abuse arises from misinformation, miscommunication, and, generally, a false sense of security surrounding supposedly “safe” substances. It’s vital that Arizona citizens recognize the crisis prescription drug abuse represents in our state, and make an effort to stay educated about proper prescription drug use.

Arizona Drug Detox

The Meth Crisis in the Southwest Persists
in 2016

According to The Guardian, the number of seizures of methamphetamine in Arizona thus far in 2016 have already surpassed the previous year’s tally. This is solid proof that the demand for meth has made it so countries such as Mexico, where the drug is much cheaper and easier to manufacture, are able to import the drug into the U.S. and then disperse it to local traffickers fairly undetected. So just how bad is the meth crisis in the Southwest?

According to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection, more than 3,200 pounds of meth have been confiscated this year at Arizona’s southern border, and that number continues to grow exponentially. Similarly, in California, police and border officers have confiscated more than 15,000 pounds of meth in 2016, higher than the previous year’s 14,732 pounds.

So how exactly are these drugs being made, and how are traffickers making it across the border undetected, infiltrating suburban communities and ravaging the streets from California to New Mexico?

Operations in the United States

According to the National Drug Intelligence Center (NDIC), manufacturers of meth generally establish a base of operation in remote areas or set up small labs in mobile homes, houses or motel rooms. Most of these small labs are often small in size and easy to take down if need be, making it easy for producers of the drug to avoid detection from local authorities.

Much of the methamphetamine available in states such as New Mexico and Arizona is first produced in Mexico, where the active ingredients used to make the drug are much easier to purchase. After being manufactured, the drugs are smuggled either through Texas or New Mexico, where border regulation is easier to circumvent or through southern Arizona and California towns.

Changing to Form of Meth to Sneak It In

In order to avoid detection, many smugglers have resorted to liquefying the meth before entering the US. Through this process, the meth is dissolved in a solution and then can be crystallized again after its smugglers are safe across the border. Liquid meth can be stored in second tanks, washer fluid containers, and even shampoo or lotion bottles.

Meth’s Damage in the U.S.

While drug smugglers are getting more creative, the drug continues to take its toll on individuals and families throughout the country. Many users who become addicts often report that they felt like slaves to the drug, turning to theft, prostitution or other criminal acts as a way to get money to continue funding their addiction.

The number of deaths in Arizona alone from methamphetamine has grown significantly over the past decade. In addition, meth seizures in the Grand Canyon State have increased by 294 percent in the past five years.

With all this information in mind, the question to ask is not just how we can restrict criminals from manufacturing and trafficking the drug, but how do we help those individuals who suffer from addiction to meth?

Treatment to Combat the Meth Crisis in the Southwest

While there are many options for rehabilitation for any individual struggling with meth addiction, most professionals working in the recovery industry agree that it is often necessary for the addict to first undergo a medically supervised detox program, which usually lasts about 7 days.

After completing detox, the addict should be on a plan to enter either a sober living environment or a residential treatment facility that specializes in the treatment of alcohol and substance abuse.

Arizona and California both have many options available to addicts seeking to get help for their drug addiction problems. Professional treatment can help them reclaim their lives and set them up for long-term sobriety and an improved life.

Drug Rehab In Prescott, AZ