The new law improves access to care for patients in Arizona with chronic intractable pain.
Governor Doug Ducey has signed SB1162, which was introduced in January 2022, into law, providing protections for patients in Arizona with chronic intractable plain. The law is an amendment to ARS Section 32-3248.01 and improves access to care. The law also provides physicians the ability to treat patients as they deem medically appopriate and confirms that providers and the state government boards have oversight on appropriate treatment for these patients.
"Just as it is unwise and dangerous to set in stone with the legal statute the proper dose and amount of insulin to treat diabetes or beta-blockers to treat high blood pressure, it is equally wrong to legislate the treatment of pain," said Jeff Singer, MD, a Phoenix surgeon and senior fellow at the Cato Institute. "If there is anything these past two years of the pandemic should have taught us, science is a work in progress, with what we know subject to continuous revision, and people are individuals—there is no one-size-fits-all solution to most health problems. Doctors’ opinions may vary on how to treat particular medical issues. Their professional differences should not be a concern of law enforcement.”
The amendment defines chronic intractable pain and exempts patients with it from ARS Section 32-3248.01, which includes prescribing laws. According to the International Pain Foundation, the law will help patients receive proper care and treatment, as well as reduce the number of suicides among this population.
“For far too long, people with painful illnesses and conditions have been suffering due to poorly executed policies to address drug misuse”, said Lauren Deluca, executive director and founding president, Chronic Illness Advocacy & Awareness Group, Inc. "This legislation is the first step to help correct course and ensure the health and safety of all citizens to receive the individualized care they need without undue barriers and discrimination."