Today: Jan 22 , 2020

Yavapai County Had Close to 50 Medication-Related Deaths

13 December 2019   Teri Farneti

Yavapai County Medical Examiner’s Office Joins the Fight Against Drug Overdoses

The Yavapai County Medical Examiner’s Office sees closed to 50 medication-related deaths each year. A significant proportion of deaths are due to the combination of multiple prescription medications. Patients may obtain legitimate prescriptions for opioids, benzodiazepines, muscle relaxants, and sleep aids from more than one prescriber. When taken in any combination, these medications put patients at greater risk of death. We also see deaths that are a result of long-term therapeutic prescribing.

The ME’s office will begin sending a courtesy communication to inform prescribers of the death of a patient where prescription drugs may have contributed to the cause of death, along with evidence-based interventions and resources to assist prescribers with the challenges of balancing the potential harm and benefit of controlled medication for their patients. 

One of the resources is the Arizona Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP), which helps prescribers avoid prescribing controlled substances when they may do more harm than good. The PDMP contains information about whether other clinicians have already prescribed controlled substances to their patients.  This is an essential tool for prescribers and pharmacists in combatting the prescription drug overdose epidemic.

A workshop on Understanding a Pharmacist’s Role in AZ’s Drug Epidemic will be hosted on January 29th from 9:00 – Noon in the Prescott Valley Library’s Crystal Room.  Hosted by MATFORCE and the AZ Pharmacy Association, the workshop is to learn about current drug trends in Yavapai County and Arizona, including the rise of illicit fentanyl in our community.  Learn about the roles and responsibilities of pharmacists in combating the current drug epidemic.  And understand the laws that affect pharmacies and the medical community.  To sign up and RSVP or call 928-708-0100.

For more information, contact Melissa Garcia at 928-442-5966, and the YCCHS website for the prescriber resources: