Tempe high school students learn dangers of opioids and prescriptions medications from Tempe first responders on Friday, Oct. 26

Oct. 25, 2018

Tempe high school students learn dangers of opioids and prescriptions medications from Tempe first responders on Friday, Oct. 26

Tempe, AZ - During the 2017-18 school year, the Tempe Fire Medical Rescue Department responded to 104 emergency medical calls for opioid-related incidents involving people ages 15 to 29. Young people made up about half of the opioid-related incidents between August 2017 and May 2018 according to a data map of opioid abuse in the city.

In recognition of National Red Ribbon Campaign Week (Oct. 23 – 31), Tempe’s first responders will team up to present Rx360, a curriculum about the dangers of opioids and prescriptions medications at McClintock High School, 1830 E. Del Rio Drive, Friday, Oct. 26 from 8:30 a.m. until 1:10 p.m. Tempe Fire Medical Rescue Department’s Patient Advocate Services and Police Department’s School Resource Officer along with medical staff from Tempe St. Luke’s Hospital will take part.

Eventually, the curriculum will be brought to all high school students in the Tempe Union High School District. 

The 2016 Arizona Criminal Justice Commission Arizona Youth Survey Trends Report revealed that more than one in 10 students in 10th grade and about one of seven 12th graders have taken prescription pain killers not prescribed to them by a doctor.

The Arizona Department of Health Services Arizona Opioid Emergency Responses reports that in 2016, 790 Arizonans died from opioid overdoses – more than two people per day. Arizona has experienced an alarming increase in opioid deaths of 74 percent since 2012. In the past decade, 5,932 Arizonans died from opioid-induced causes with death rates starting to rise in the late teens and peaking at ages 45-54.

Tempe City Councilmember Joel Navarro, who is also a Phoenix firefighter, represents the city on the East Valley Regional Opioid Action Planning Committee and, along with Councilmember Robin Arredondo-Savage, spearheads the Regional Opioid Action Committee. “Cities, towns, first responders, community and faith-based groups are in agreement that we need to ensure everyone, especially young people, are made keenly aware of the dangers of opioid overuse. Educating students is a great start,” Navarro said.

Tempe is the first city in Arizona to create a data map showing opioid abuse demographics, locations of probable opioid abuse calls for service and the times they are happening. The Opioid Abuse Probable EMS Call Dashboard explores opioid-related emergency medical services call data using interactive charts and maps.

The National Red Ribbon Campaign was created in 1985 in response to the murder of Drug Enforcement Administration Agent Enrique Camarena. Angered parents and youth in communities across the country began wearing Red Ribbons as a symbol of their commitment to raise awareness of the killing and destruction cause by drugs in America.

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