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Ducey comes to Tucson to lay out his 2018 legislative agenda

Posted at 6:43 PM, Jan 09, 2018
and last updated 2018-01-09 20:43:24-05

Governor Doug Ducey laid out his goals for the 2018 legislative session in front of a packed ball room at the Tucson Convention Center.

The speech was nearly identical to the State of the State address he delivered to law makers at the State Capitol Monday.

Ducey identified fighting opioid addiction and deaths and public school funding as priorities. The Governor says he plans to call a special session of the legislature so lawmakers can focus on legislation that he says will help curb the opioid epidemic in the state.

In his speech, Ducey cited statistics that indicate most heroin addicts begin abusing opioid medications. He says his plan is aggressive yet compassionate.

“This much I commit: All bad actors will be held accountable whether they are doctors, manufacturers or just plain drug dealers,” Ducey said Monday and Tuesday.

Sometimes when you hold people accountable that can be controversial but I think this is the responsibility of government. We're here to protect public health and public safety and those are two things I intend to do in this opioid crisis,” Ducey told reporters following his Tucson speech.

Ducey declared a public health emergency of June of last year. He said his plan addresses problems like doctors over-prescribing opioids but also accounts for legitimate sufferers of chronic pain. He said the current opioid problem is somewhat similar to past widespread drug problems but it is more complicated because many opioids are legal drugs.

“There is a difference here because much of this happens from behind a pharmacy window but the principles are about the same,” he said.

Ducey has not announced when he plans to call the special session on opioid addiction.