Fighting Opioid addiction with e-prescriptions in Phoenix, AZ

by Aaron Black • February 14, 2019
E-prescriptionsAs I’m sure, you are aware opioid addiction is rampant across the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control, more than 200,000 nationwide died from opioids from 1999 to 2016.
Opioids are a national epidemic. A study by the National Study on Drug Use and Health reported in 2016 reported that an estimated 28.6 million Americans age 12 and overused illicit drugs during the month before the study.

What are Opioids & Opiates?

Opioids are a group of drugs that are used to treat pain. Opium comes from the poppy plant, and opiates refer to natural or slightly modified components of opium. Opiates include codeine, Vicodin, OxyContin, Morphine and Heroin.

What are the side effects of Prescription Opioids?

Pharmaceutical companies are required by law to publish warnings about the side effects, and we’ve all seen them on the prescription labels.

Opioids are narcotic and routinely prescribed, but they can be addicting.
Opioid Side Effects include:
  • Drowsiness
  • Dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Depression
  • Nausea
  • Euphoria
  • A built-up tolerance requiring stronger doses for the same effect, and withdrawal symptoms if the medication is stopped
Opioid medicines commonly prescribed include Codeine, Robitussin A-C, Tylenol with Codeine, Empirin with Codeine, Roxanol, Demerol, Morphine, and Percodan.

Battling the Opioid Crisis in Arizona

To fight the opioid epidemic in Arizona, starting January 1, 2019 doctors in the Phoenix metropolitan area will be only able to write prescriptions for opioids online. Known as e-prescriptions its part of the Arizona Opioid Epidemic Act (SB 101) that was passed during a special session in 2018.
There are few exceptions to e-prescriptions which are Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) for substance use or if the prescriber has been granted a waiver.
Electronic prescribing of controlled substances (EPCS) will reduce prescription errors and improve the accuracy of dispensing. EPCS will also lessen prescription fraud by preventing the occurrences of fake prescriptions.
In additions to e-prescriptions, Arizona legislature in January 2018 adopted a bill pushed by Governor Doug Ducey to curb opioid overdoses, which have killed 800 Arizonians in the final six months of 2017, the governor stated.

The new law, which took effect in November 2018, limits opioid prescriptions to last five days, or 14 days for surgical patients, and limits morphine equivalents to 90 milligrams, except for burn, cancer, and hospice patients.
For patients who need more medication, doctors must get approval from a board-certified Pain Management Practioner.

E-Prescriptions in Arizona Counties

The e-prescriptions for Schedule II opioids effective January 1, 2019, will only affect the following counties in Arizona.
  • Maricopa County
  • Mohave County
  • Pima County
  • Pinal County
  • Yavapai County
  • Yuma County
Starting July 1, 2019, the same requirements will go into effect for the following counties.
  • Greenlee County
  • La Paz County
  • Graham County
  • Santa Cruz County
  • Gila, Apache County
  • Navajo County
  • Cochise County
  • Coconino County 

A DUI and Prescription Pain Killers

Patients who drive while on prescription medications containing opioids to relieve pain can be charged with driving under the influence (DUI) in Phoenix, AZ just as those who drink and drive.

Arizona law is tough on prescription defendants under the state’s per se law, meaning that the offense is evident because any detectable amount of drugs determines it.
The moment you are pulled over, your best defense is not to answer questions posed by the officer. Any conversation between you and the officer becomes evidence, and the state will not hesitate to use your words against you to achieve a conviction. Politely ask to talk to an Attorney.
It’s your Constitutional right under the Fifth Amendment, which prohibits self-incrimination to decline answering questions. Just be polite and answer the officer when he asks for your personal information and license.

DUI Defense for a Prescription Opioid Charge

Each case has their own sets of circumstances. Defense is built on documentation, science, and expert medical testimony.
  • Documentation for a valid prescription

    The defendant must produce a valid prescription written by a physician for a specific medical reason to prove the patient had a legal right to possess and use the drug. The testimony of the prescribing physician can also be very beneficial.
  • Levels of the drug involved using Science

    The type of medicine containing an opioid must be quantified through reports from a blood lab to show the level of the drug involved. The prosecution will have this information.
The defense must obtain its own blood analysis to contradict the state’s test and the accuracy of the state’s test.
  • Opioid Medication Experts

    Prosecution and defense lawyers can bring in opioid medication experts to testify about the amount of impairment or the lack of impairment based on the strength of the particular drug and how long it was in the body before the traffic stop based on individual metabolism.

Free Legal Consultation

It’s crucial to promptly retain DUI Defense legal counsel while evidence and memories are fresh, but more importantly, you should hire an Attorney before any court appearances.

To get a clear picture of what you’re facing I invite you to contact the DUI Defense Attorney Aaron Black or call 480-729-1683 to schedule a free legal consultation.


About the Author

Aaron Black is the founder and sole attorney of the Law Office of Aaron Black. Located in Phoenix, Arizona, his DUI and criminal defense law firm provides legal services to people who have received felony or misdemeanor charges from the state.

Aaron has developed a strong interest in defending people who have been arrested and received criminal charges for driving under the influence. With his professionalism and knowledge of Arizona DUI and criminal law, he has acted as a check and balance on the police, prosecution and courts and has protected a great number of his clients from excessive and unfair sentencing.

Along with DUI defense, Aaron handles a range of other criminal matters, including aggravated assault, burglary, domestic violence, drug possession, drug trafficking, fraud defense, insurance fraud, sex crimes and white-collar crime.

After graduating college in 2003 from the University of Arizona, Aaron decided to pursue a law degree. He followed a family long tradition and went to the University of South Dakota School of Law where he pursued his goal of becoming a criminal defense lawyer.

After passing the Arizona and South Dakota bar exams, Aaron joined the Maricopa County Office of the Public Defender where he defended hundreds of people charged with serious criminal offenses. His work as a public defender helped him sharpen his litigation skills and gave him a unique insight into the Arizona criminal justice system.

Over the course of his 15-year legal career, Aaron has spent a considerable amount of time in both Arizona justice, municipal, state and federal courts. He has argued over 50 jury trials, tried over 100 bench trials and has become one of the highest-rated criminal and DUI defense attorneys in Phoenix and the surrounding areas. He has received a 10/10 rating from the legal directory Avvo because of his legal background and successful case record. Since 2014, he has received the Super Lawyer rating for his work as a Phoenix DUI and criminal defense attorney.

You can review Aaron’s Attorney Bio page for more information about his background, education and experience as a Phoenix DUI and criminal defense attorney.
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