Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona has announced a $10 million investment to establish a multi-faceted, statewide program to address the misuse of opioids and other substances and reduce overdose-related deaths in the state.
There have been more than eighty-five hundred suspected opioid overdoses and more than fifteen hundred suspected opioid deaths in the state over the last year. The new initiative, Mobilize AZ, will support prevention, treatment, and recovery programs designed to help providers, local organizations, and communities address the epidemic. The public-private initiative comprises more than a dozen strategies tailored to patients, doctors, and community providers, including a grant program that will award at least $1 million annually for three years to community-based organizations involved in education, treatment, and recovery. In addition, BCBSAZ will focus on expanding treatment resources and filling gaps through medication-assisted treatment telehealth and twenty-four-hour triage to help those in need.
"Opioid misuse continues to take a devastating toll in Arizona. While we have already made an incredible amount of progress to address this issue, more must be done," said Arizona governor Doug Ducey. "This $10 million investment demonstrates Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona's continued commitment to public health and will further support the state's efforts in the fight against the opioid epidemic and substance use disorder."
"The opioid epidemic is one of the most significant public health and safety issues the state has faced in generations. Our vision is to bring together medical professionals, insurers, government, and the community to turn the tide against substance misuse, while showing compassion for those struggling with addiction and protecting those suffering from chronic pain," said BCBSAZ president and CEO Pam Kehaly. "Now is our time to act, and together we can heal and protect Arizona."