Arizona - SAC and State Partners Honored for Work on Prescription Drug Abuse

The Arizona Prescription Drug Misuse and Abuse Initiative received the Outstanding Criminal Justice Program Award during the National Criminal Justice Association National Forum held in Chicago last month. Phillip Stevenson, Arizona SAC Director, accepted the award on behalf of the numerous partners involved in the program, including the Arizona SAC. The award recognizes out-standing criminal justice programs that showcase successful promising practices in criminal justice. The programs selected must address important criminal justice issues; demonstrate effectiveness based upon the program's stated goals; be a good example of the use of federal funds to initiate a program that is subsequently supported through state and local appropriations or is self-sustaining; and be easy to replicate in other jurisdictions.

Phillip Stevenson, Arizona SAC Director (l.), receives
Outstanding Criminal Justice Program Award from
John Blackburn, Jr., NCJA Board Member and
Executive Director, Arizona Criminal Justice Commission

The Initiative employs a multi-systemic approach to reduce misuse of prescription medication and the associated health and crime-related consequences. The program is currently underway in three pilot counties (i.e., Yavapai, Pinal, Graham/Greenlee) and includes five main strategies: 1) reduce illicit acquisition and diversion of prescription medications; 2) educate prescribers and pharmacists about best practices for controlled substances; 3) enhance prescription drug practice and policies in law enforcement; 4) increase public awareness about the risks of prescription drug misuse; and 5) build resilience in children and adults. Once feasibility and efficacy are established, the plan is to replicate the program statewide.

Thus far, enrollment in the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP) has collectively increased across the three counties for prescribers (44%), pharmacists (130%) and law enforcement (103%). Placement of 29 permanent drop boxes throughout the three counties has resulted in the collection of approximately 500 lbs of unused medication each month Numerous trainings have been held in each pilot site for law enforcement, prescribers and pharmacists. Thus far, 808 adults and 7,751 youth have received a research-based curriculum (Rx360) that raises awareness about the risks of prescription drug misuse and promotes proper storage and disposal of medication. The curriculum efforts have been complimented by media coverage and numerous community events that are estimated to have reached over 300,000 people across the three counties.

For more information about the program, visit