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Pinal County completes one year of success reducing Rx drug abuse
Date: 11/26/2013
Pinal County completes one year of success reducing Rx drug abuse


Tuesday, November 26, 2013


CONTACT:   Jim Knupp, Public Information Officer, PCAO, 520-510-5463

                       Tim Gaffney, Director of Administration, PCSO, 520-866-5174


Pinal County completes one year of success reducing Rx drug abuse

FLORENCE, AZ (11/26/13) – On Tuesday, the Arizona Criminal Justice Commission joined Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu, Pinal County Attorney Lando Voyles, Arizona Substance Abuse Partnership and the Pinal County Substance Abuse Council to celebrate the first year of the Arizona Prescription Drug Misuse and Abuse Initiative in Pinal County and to share statistics regarding the success of the program.

Attempting to address issues with prescription drug abuse, the Arizona Prescription Drug Misuse and Abuse Initiative was developed by the Arizona Criminal Justice Commission, the Governor’s Office for Children, Youth and Families, and numerous other state partners including the Arizona Department of Health Services, Arizona High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area, Arizona State Board of Pharmacy, and DrugFreeAZ.

Designed as a multi-systemic, multi-agency collaborative approach to reduce prescription drug abuse in Arizona, the Initiative currently operates in three pilot counties – Yavapai, Pinal and Graham/Greenlee – and will be introduced into additional counties in the second phase of the Initiative.

ACJC credited experts from law enforcement, the prevention field and medical community, who participated in the development of the Initiative and creation of a set of data- and research-driven strategies.

Each of these counties strives to achieve and exceed in the five key strategies, including: 1) reducing illicit acquisition and diversion of prescription medications; 2) educating prescribers and pharmacists about best practices for controlled substances; 3) enhancing prescription drug practice and policies in law enforcement; 4) increasing public awareness about the risks of prescription drug misuse; and 5) building a resilience in children and adults.

In Pinal County alone, partners in attendance at Tuesday’s Pinal County Substance Abuse Council meeting included representatives from the Governor’s Office of Children and Families, the Arizona Departments of Public Health and Public Safety, the Arizona Board of Pharmacy, the Arizona High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area, the Pinal County Sheriff’s Office, the Pinal County Attorney’s Office, the Pinal County Health Department, Cenpatico, Walgreen Co., Florence Hospital at Anthem, the Coolidge, Maricopa and Casa Grande police departments, and the Pinal County Substance Abuse Council – comprised of Adelante Juntos Coalition, Casa Grande Alliance, Coolidge Youth Coalition, Eloy Governor’s Alliance Against Drugs, M.A.S.H. Anti-Substance Abuse Coalition, One More Step Coalition of Casa Grande, San Tan Valley Coalition, and the Superior Substance Abuse Coalition.

Most notably, the public may recognize this initiative as it relates to the prescription drug drop-off box program, which has deployed 16 boxes that are currently operational throughout the county and has collected 1,800 pounds of prescription medications, so far! 

Other major accomplishments include:

  • 16 drop boxes are operational in Pinal County and 6 take-back events were held, collecting 1,800 lbs (to date)
  • Casa Grande Regional Medical Center, Banner Ironwood and Florence Hospital at Anthem are implementing Emergency Department Guidelines
  • Over 350 prescribers are receiving quarterly report cards
  •  75 professionals have received comprehensive “Best Practice” training or door-to-door approach
  • 201 Law Enforcement Officers have received Rx Crimes curriculum
  • 1,951 youth and 441 adults have received the Rx360 curriculum
  • 5,096 people have been reached via community events
  • Over 175,749 people have been reached via public messaging and media methods

Pinal County Attorney Lando Voyles said, “Nearly an entire ton of unused and unnecessary prescription pills no longer pose a danger for abuse in our county.  The significance of the number of incidents of accidental overdose and with reports linking abuse of prescription medications to heroin use – one report from Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration stating those who abuse are 19 times more likely to use – provide insight as to the importance of the success of this initiative.  Pinal families benefit from knowing how to properly and safely store and dispose of unused prescriptions and doctors, pharmacists and law enforcement possess new tools and training to improve prevention and reduce abuse.”

Sheriff Paul Babeu said, “According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, deaths from drug overdose and abuse now exceed deaths from motor vehicle accidents in the United States. Elected officials and community leaders should be doing all we can to help address this national problem. Unneeded and unwanted prescription drugs need to be kept out of the hands of our children. Having Prescription Drug Drop-Off Boxes conveniently available to citizens throughout the year will have a tremendous impact on this problem.”

For more information, contact Jim Knupp at 520.866.6573 or by email at


Tiffany Davila
County Attorney's PIO
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County Attorney
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30 N. Florence St
Building D
Florence, AZ 85132

Office: 520.866.6271
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