Tue, Jan. 28

Yavapai completes one year of state pilot to reduce Rx drug abuse

On June 30, Yavapai County, under the leadership of MATFORCE, concluded its one-year participation in the state's pilot Prescription Drug Abuse Reduction Project.

In 2012, the Arizona Substance Abuse Partnership selected Yavapai County to be the first test location in part because of the many prevention strategies MATFORCE already had in place addressing this health risk.

Sheila Polk, Yavapai County Attorney and MATFORCE Co-Chair, said, "Many community partners, agencies and volunteers pooled their resources with MATFORCE during this year-long project. I continue to be amazed at the willingness of our community to roll up its sleeves and get to work to solve a problem."

The project focused on three main goals, asking our community to 1) Stay informed: learn more about prescription drug abuse and talk to your kids about the dangers; 2) Stay safe: safeguard medications in your home and safely dispose of unwanted medication; and 3) Save lives: ask your doctor or pharmacist if they are 'signed up to save lives' with the state's prescription monitoring program to help lessen diversion of pills.

Cottonwood City Manager and MATFORCE's other Co-Chair, Doug Bartosh, said, "We are beginning to see the positive results of this project. All indicators show we are lessening the abuse of prescription drugs in our county and thereby saving lives."

An indication of progress is provided by tracking data from the Arizona State Board of Pharmacy. A reduction in the number of pills dispensed is a measure of decrease in abuse and illegal pill resale. One of the greatest sources of abuse in recent years has involved opiate type drugs. In the past year there was a decrease in opiate pills dispensed of 5 percent for Hydrocodone and 2 percent for Oxycodone.

Other major accomplishments include:

• Ten permanent prescription drug drop boxes are now installed at law enforcement offices.

• Dump the Drugs events and the take back boxes collected a record 2,900+ pounds of medication in just one year.

• Verde Valley and Yavapai Regional Medical Centers implemented new, stricter policies for emergency department opioid prescriptions.

• Rx360 educational presentations were made to 5,859 youth and 263 adults.

• Prescription drug abuse among youth fell from 24 percent to 18 percent, according to the 2012 Arizona Youth Survey

As of June 30, 231 doctors and 85 pharmacists are signed up to save lives and enrolled in the state's monitoring system.

For more information contact MATFORCE at 928-708-0100 or online at

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