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Arizona Substance Use Statistics And Addiction Treatment Options

Addiction is a growing crisis in the United States. An estimated 21.5 million people suffered from a substance use disorder in 2014. Anyone experiencing an addiction should know that compassionate and effective addiction treatment is available in Arizona.

Arizona Substance Use by the Numbers

Drug overdose deaths are becoming more frequent across the country. In 2017, Arizona Governor Doug Ducey declared a statewide public health emergency in response to the state’s alarming increase of opioid-related fatalities.

According to the Arizona Department of Health Services:

  • 790 deaths in 2016 resulted from opioids, a 74 percent increase since 2012
  • Heroin fatalities accounted for 54 percent of Arizona’s opioid deaths in the past two years and 64 percent in the past four years
  • Trends indicate that opioid overdose deaths in Arizona may surpass 1,000 by 2019

According to a report by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, alcohol was responsible for the most admissions to Maricopa County addiction treatment centers in 2013, followed closely by meth.

  1. Alcohol – 27 percent
  2. Methamphetamine – 23 percent
  3. Heroin and Morphine – 19 percent
  4. Marijuana – 17 percent
  5. Other Opioids – 8 percent
  6. Cocaine – 4 percent

Drug-Related Crime in Arizona

Researchers from the American Friends Service Committee gathered data about drug-related crime in Arizona and found that:

  • Each day, the state spends almost $600,000 to house inmates charged with drug offenses
  • The average expense is $24,000 per person
  • Drug-related arrests were the largest category of offenses
  • 21.8 percent of prisoners were incarcerated for drug crimes
  • Arizona has the fifth-highest incarceration rate in the United States
  • The recidivism rate for drug-related offenses is almost 50 percent

Arizona’s Efforts To Address Addiction

A few steps the state has taken to address addiction include needle exchange programs, overdose reversal medications and community awareness programs.

Needle Exchange Programs

A bipartisan bill was introduced in the state senate in March 2018 to officially allow organizations to establish needle exchange programs. These programs decrease bloodborne disease transmission and reduce medical hazards resulting from improperly discarded needles.

Naloxone For First Responders

The Arizona Department of Health Services has provided over 18,000 doses of naloxone (Narcan) to appropriately trained law enforcement agencies throughout the state. Naloxone is an opioid overdose reversal medication that can temporarily reverse an opioid overdose, allowing time to provide life-saving medical support.

Community Awareness Programs

Arizona has established several programs to increase substance-use awareness throughout the state. These include the Arizona Parents Commission on Drug Education and Prevention, 2-1-1 Arizona and

Arizona Addiction Treatment

The goal of addiction treatment is to help each client achieve long-lasting recovery, enable them to lead a productive life within their community and workplace and find fulfillment in their sobriety. A variety of treatment programs and therapy types are available in Arizona to help those who need it.

Addiction Treatment Programs

Intervention Services

Intervention services can help family and friends convince their loved one to seek help for an addiction. An interventionist assists members of the intervention group with planning and helps keep the conversation focused. Professionally led interventions have a high success rate of getting a person to commit to treatment.


Detoxification allows the body to rid itself of drugs and alcohol. When a person is physically dependent on a substance, withdrawal symptoms will set in when it’s withheld. Withdrawal symptoms range from unpleasant to potentially life-threatening.

Medically supervised detox provides monitoring and support during this process. Many drug and alcohol detox programs in Arizona offer medications to ease or prevent withdrawal symptoms. Some of these medications can be continued long-term if needed.

Inpatient Addiction Treatment

Arizona inpatient drug and alcohol rehab programs offer round-the-clock support, behavioral therapies and a structured environment. Clients live on the premises for the duration of treatment, which removes opportunities for relapse.

Intensive Outpatient Addiction Treatment

People attending an intensive outpatient addiction treatment program return home after therapy each day. This level of care is beneficial for those who have completed an inpatient addiction treatment program but would benefit from continued therapy.

Sober Living

Sober living facilities are drug-free residential settings where a person can continue their recovery after addiction treatment while surrounded by others who are focused on the same thing. House rules must be followed, and some sober living facilities conduct random drug testing.

Aftercare and Alumni Services

Aftercare or alumni services are helpful for long-term sobriety. This type of support may include social groups, events and on-call support.

Specialized Addiction Treatment Programs in Arizona

Dual-Diagnosis Treatment

When someone experiences a mental illness and a substance use disorder simultaneously, it is known as a dual diagnosis or co-occurring disorders. Either disorder can develop first, but effective treatment must address both, each in context of the other.

Gender-Specific Treatment

Each gender faces unique challenges that can affect their recovery. Some addiction treatment programs offer gender-specific therapies and single-gender treatment groups, which takes the needs of each gender into account while also removing potential romantic distractions.

Medication-Assisted Treatment

Medication-assisted treatment programs combine behavioral therapy with medications to strengthen recovery. Medications such as methadone, naloxone (Narcan), buprenorphine (Suboxone) and naltrexone (Vivitrol) prevent the onset of withdrawal symptoms and can be tapered down over time.

Trauma-Informed Care

Trauma-informed care recognizes the connection between trauma and addiction and accommodates the unique needs of those who have experienced trauma. This type of addiction treatment focuses on building an environment where clients feel safe and can fully engage with their therapy.

Addiction Treatment Therapies

Traditional Behavior Therapies

Traditional behavior therapies are at the core of any effective addiction treatment program in Arizona. Traditional therapies offered may include:

  • Group therapy
  • Individual therapy
  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy
  • Dialectical behavior therapy
  • 12-step programs
  • Motivational interviewing
  • Complementary Therapies

Complementary therapies seek to provide whole-person healing and wellness. While not as rigorously researched as traditional addiction treatment therapies, clients may respond well to some or all of the following complementary therapies:

  • Yoga
  • Equine therapy
  • Journaling
  • Acupuncture
  • Biofeedback

Length of Addiction Treatment

The length of treatment for substance use disorders in Arizona is consistent with the rest of the country and varies depending on the type of treatment chosen. A rehab center may offer programs as short as 30 days, and some programs may last three months to a year. Research shows that treatment plans of 90 days or longer are the most effective.

Treatment length also depends on the severity of the addiction, whether the treatment program starts with inpatient drug and alcohol rehab or outpatient rehabilitation and how quickly a client progresses through treatment.

How to Pay for Addiction Treatment


The Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act was passed in 2008, mandating that health insurance cover mental health and substance use disorder treatment the same as surgical and medical care.


For those who have the means to do so, financing treatment for themselves or a loved one is an option for a variety of treatment centers in Arizona. In many cases, individual drug and alcohol treatment centers offer their own financing, sometimes through third-party financing companies.

Public Assistance

Drug addiction affects all walks of life, and for those without the means to pay for treatment, public assistance may be available. Assistance may be provided through a variety of public assistance programs, such as:

  • Medicaid
  • Medicare
  • Arizona state-funded addiction treatment programs
  • Locally funded addiction treatment programs
  • Substance Use and Mental Health Services Association grants
  • U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

Traveling For Addiction Treatment

When considering where to seek treatment, remember that the best treatment program for a person’s unique needs might not be right around the corner. The benefits of traveling for addiction treatment include:

  • Access to a broad selection of high-quality substance use disorder treatment programs
  • Anonymity
  • Increased focus on treatment
  • Decreased environmental triggers

Vertava Health offers effective, compassionate treatment in several states across the country, and we can help people find the care they need—wherever they are.

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