Governor Doug Ducey has sent a letter to the Arizona Medical Board and the Arizona Board of Osteopathic Examiners making a push to have all Arizona doctors complete a continuing education course in drug addiction. He referred to the letter in his State of the State speech.
The speech was delivered a few days after Cronkite News published the results of an investigation indicating that some doctors had been overprescribing opioid pain medications for years before being disciplined by their professional board. In some cases, they were allowed to practice without restrictions even after being disciplined on several occasions.
Few Doctors Disciplined for Overprescribing
Only a small number of doctors have been disciplined in the past 16 years for overprescribing opioid pain medications. Of the 19,000 doctors licensed to prescribe controlled substances, 250 have been disciplined.
Arizona currently has a training program in place for doctors on prescribing opioids and treating chronic pain. The state doesn’t require them to take continuing education courses in prescribing controlled substances, pain management or substance abuse disorders. Some states, including Florida, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Oklahoma, Vermont and West Virginia, require doctors to undergo continuing education training in best practice of controlled substances, but this is not mandatory in all states.
Continuing Education Required for Doctors in AZ
Arizona doctors must complete 40 hours of continuing medical education every two years before they can have their license renewed by the Arizona Medical Board or the Arizona Board of Osteopathic Examiners.
The doctors can choose which continuing education courses they will take. Unless they are practicing in a state where they are required to take training in substance abuse or prescribing controlled substances, it is up to the individual doctor to choose whether to take this training. Ducey wants the boards in Arizona to require doctors to require one of the 40 required hours to be in addiction or Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services administration-supported opioid prescribing.
The governor remarked in his speech that drug addiction was a “problem that knows no bounds.”
Get Addiction Help in Arizona
Fortunately, for people who do get caught in the trap of substance abuse and addiction, there are programs like Desert Cove Recovery here to help them get back on the right track. Contact us today for more information about our successful rehabilitation center.