Phoenix – Today, January Contreras, candidate for Arizona Attorney General, released her plan to fight the opioid and heroin epidemic in Arizona. Arizona communities have experienced nearly 1,500 opioid related deaths, and over 9,775 opioid overdoses just in the last thirteen months.
January Contreras, a former criminal prosecutor, said "Across the country, you see Attorneys General leading the fight against the opioid and heroin epidemic. That's the kind of leadership I will provide in our state because our kids and families deserve it. I’ve traveled through Arizona's towns and cities, and I've witnessed the damage caused by these drugs. As Attorney General, I will work to bring accountability to those who profit from this epidemic, and to take action to curb its damage in our state.”
January Contreras is a former Deputy County Attorney, Assistant Attorney General, and non-profit executive. She’s running for Attorney General to bring accountability and transparency back to our government, and to put the safety, financial security, and well-being of Arizonans first. Learn more at www.JanuaryforAZ.com.
As a former prosecutor and lawyer to victims of crime, I have always served to keep our families and communities safe. Today, we see the rise of opioid abuse, including heroin and fentanyl, ripping apart families and sending too many of our children to the foster care system. It's hurting our biggest cities and our smallest towns.
In many states, it is the Attorney General who leads the fight against opioid and heroin abuse. We have not seen this in Arizona. In the absence of leadership by the Attorney General, the Arizona state legislature and Governor took some important steps forward this year. There is more to do. I look forward to working with leaders, law enforcement, first responders, health professionals, and communities across Arizona to provide the Attorney General leadership this epidemic deserves.
A Plan to Tackle Opioid Abuse in Arizona
Hold Drug Companies Accountable • Use all investigative and legal tools available to hold drug manufacturers, distributors, and pharmacies accountable for profiting off of the human toll fueled by misrepresentation and neglectful actions. • Recover monies for the State of Arizona. Use civil action to recoup restitution for the costs that Arizona experienced due to their unlawful actions. Prioritize monies recouped to be used for prevention efforts, treatment services for addicted parents, response for children impacted, and for increased methods of drug disposal. • Support the Arizona cities and counties that are suing drug companies. In the absence of leadership from the current Attorney General, these entities have sued to recoup tax monies spent battling the opioid epidemic. We will support these efforts and share information to make all communities stronger.
Prosecute Drug Traffickers • Find and stop domestic drug trafficking operations in Arizona. Collaborate with federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement to share information, identify drug trafficking operations, and prosecute heroin and synthetic opioid manufacturers and traffickers that exist in or come through Arizona. • Work with federal, multi-agency task forces to stop the flow of heroin and synthetic opioids, like fentanyl, supplied by foreign-based drug cartels. Investigate and prosecute with partner agencies.
Stop the Limitless Supply • Collect and use data to know where the most harm is happening. Work with AHCCCS and the Arizona Department of Health Services to identify and investigate suspicious supply trends. Pill mills are few and far between, but they exist, and we must stop them. • Enhance ways for health care providers and families to easily dispose of unused medication. Help families, hospice, and other health providers destroy extra opioids so they don’t fall into the hands of children or someone who will become newly addicted. More drop boxes and new technologies should be deployed to assist.
Make Recovery and Prevention Priorities • Expand diversion programs in the justice system for addiction. Use scarce funding to promote treatment and reduce over-incarceration of non-violent Arizonans with addiction in our criminal court system. Expand drug treatment diversion courts and veteran’s courts to ensure that recovery and support services are delivered to the fullest extent allowed under our laws. • Invest in drug addiction treatment, especially in rural Arizona. Target recoupment proceeds to expand treatment services, and work with the Governor to strengthen the network of recovery services in rural Arizona. • Protect the availability of health care services. Stop the current Attorney General’s lawsuit to eliminate the Affordable Care Act. If he’s successful, hundreds of thousands of Arizonans will lose health care services, including drug treatment. • Collaborate with community and education partners to prevent opioid and drug addiction throughout cities and towns in Arizona. • Prioritize this commitment no matter the narcotic substance involved. Recognize that all drug addiction, not just opioids, is a problem worth tackling. Identify solutions for drug addiction for the well-being of Arizona’s children, families, and communities.