The Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS) has published the 2018 Arizona Opioid Prescribing Guidelines, which promote patient safety by providing up-to-date, evidence-based best practices if prescribing opioids. The guidelines were developed with and endorsed by 19 of the leading healthcare organizations in Arizona.

The 2018 Arizona Opioid Prescribing Guidelines are an update to those first published by ADHS in 2014. The updated guidelines were developed in direct response to Governor Doug Ducey’s opioid emergency declaration in June 2017.

“By working with leaders in the health industry from the public, private, and higher education sectors, Arizona is on the forefront of developing tools for healthcare providers to address this public health crisis,” Governor Ducey said. “The updated opioid prescribing guidelines are a comprehensive tool that will help ensure responsible prescribing of opioids in our state. I applaud the Arizona Department of Health Services and the industry leaders for developing these guidelines that serve as a blueprint for safer prescribing, which will ultimately help save lives.”

The guidelines address acute and chronic pain and include strategies for managing acute and chronic pain in patients, evaluating patients for opioid use disorder, developing an opioid exit strategy, and how to connect patients with medication-assisted treatment. There is also an emphasis on non-stigmatizing language and tips for integrating the guidelines into clinical workflow.

“Everyone who suffers from acute or chronic pain is unique, and the guidelines are a tool to help providers tailor a treatment plan that meets the needs of their patient,” said Dr. Cara Christ, director of the Arizona Department of Health Services. “I encourage all Arizona medical providers to download or request a free copy of the guidelines as they are a valuable resource in helping us reduce opioid overdoses and deaths.”

The guidelines can be downloaded on the ADHS website at Healthcare providers can also request free printed guidelines online at ADHS is also developing the guidelines as a smartphone app, which is expected to be released in the fall of 2018.

To learn more about Arizona’s response to the opioid epidemic, go online to