55,000 Units of Opioid Overdose Reversal Drug Headed to Arizona County Health Departments

Attorney General Kris Mayes announced her office had submitted the first quarterly purchase order for the life-saving opioid overdose treatment drug, naloxone, from Teva Pharmaceuticals as part of the national opioid settlement.

The first shipment will go to Yuma, Pima, Navajo, Mohave and Gila counties, which were identified with the greatest need and the storage capacity and staff to handle distribution.

“The option of ordering naloxone means that we can help prevent overdoses, especially as one fentanyl pill can kill,” said Attorney General Mayes. “By getting this life-saving drug to our county health departments, and directly into the hands of our communities, we’re going to save lives. Too many families in our state have been shattered by the opioid epidemic. States like Arizona are holding the pharmaceutical companies and manufacturers that perpetuated this crisis accountable.”

Teva will provide naloxone to states for up to 10 years as part of the national opioid settlement agreement in lieu of a cash option. In addition, Arizona will receive approximately $85 million in settlement funds over 13 years as well as injunctive relief to ban the deceptive marketing practices that perpetuated the opioid epidemic.

In total, county health departments will receive 55,442 units of naloxone over the next two years. The order for the first quarter was made on December 5, 2023 and the first shipments will be distributed to the following in June 2024:

  • Yuma: 900 units
  • Pima: 3,000 units
  • Navajo: 1,200 units
  • Mohave: 1,200 units
  • Gila: 700 units

The distribution program will help public libraries, inmate re-entry programs, community-based service groups, emergency rooms, and many more distribution channels get this life-saving drug into the hands of those who can make the best use of it.

Each unit of naloxone consists of two doses. The average number of doses administered to reverse an opioid overdose is 1.7. This program has the potential to save tens of thousands of Arizona lives over its duration.

Each shipment can be sent to up to five locations. Selection of the organizations to receive the naloxone kits was determined based on community need, capacity of the organizations to store and distribute kits, as well as their ability to train the users in proper administration of doses.

Naloxone is the generic equivalent of Narcan, an opioid overdose reversal drug, that has saved close to 40,000 Arizona lives during the past six years. During this same timeframe, another 10,651 opioid deaths occurred, almost half of which were under the age of 34.

“We’re grateful Navajo County was prioritized to receive 1,200 doses of naloxone as part of the Teva Settlement Agreement,” said Janelle Linn, health director of Navajo County. “We understand the responsibility we have to ensure these doses are prioritized to those most at risk to experience or witness an overdose. We have the capacity to distribute and store these doses and look forward to utilizing them to serve our at-risk community.”

Francisco García, deputy county administrator and chief medical officer for Pima County said, “Harm reduction strategies are a cornerstone of Pima County’s response to the flood of fentanyl in our community and the larger national opioid crisis. Narcan in particular is the most effective tool we can put into the hands of the public to save lives and prevent overdose deaths. The 3,000 doses of Narcan we will receive this summer are a critical boost to the efforts of our community partners and our Health Department. We are grateful to Attorney General Mayes for making this life-saving drug available.”

“Opioid overdose deaths have been on a rise nationwide, and unfortunately Yuma County is not an exception,” said Diana Gomez, Yuma County’s health district director. “While we know there is no single solution to this problem, getting a lifesaving medication like Naloxone into the hands of those that need it most, is a commitment to safety, and a critical strategy in preventing future opioid overdoses. The Yuma County Public Health Services District will continue to work closely with our community partners to ensure that Naloxone is available to schools, first responders, and community partners experienced in responding to people in crisis. We are thankful to the Attorney General’s Office for this program, as it will increase the capacity and sustainability of our Naloxone Distribution program by ensuring that cost and availability are not a barrier.”

“This invaluable allocation of naloxone will undoubtedly have a profound impact on the lives of the citizens of Mohave County,” said Chad Kingsley, the county’s public health director. “As we all are well aware, opioid-related emergencies have become an alarming concern, and the provision of naloxone equips our first responders, healthcare professionals, friends, and families with a powerful tool to address opioid overdoses swiftly and effectively. The partnership between the Attorney General’s office and the Mohave County Department of Public Health exemplifies the collaborative spirit needed to tackle complex health challenges.”

To learn more about how you can help, contact your local county health department or if you need help with opioid use disorder, call the OARLine at 1-888-688-4222.