More than 1 million Arizonans watched a televised documentary in January detailing the state’s struggles with heroin, putting it in an elite category with the Super Bowl as one of the most-watched programs. A group of politicians, police officers and physicians say more-comprehensive approaches need to be taken to combat the problem, reports the Arizona Republic. Michael Frazier, police chief in Surprise, Az., was among panelists who discussed the documentary “Hooked: Tracking Heroin’s Hold on Arizona” yesterday at Arizona State University’s Cronkite School. Frazier said the principles of supply and demand run the drug trade. Figuring out how to reduce demand is the weakest part of the overall approach right now, he said. “We cannot arrest our way or incarcerate our way out of the drug problem,” Frazier said.
Frazier said many “foot soldiers” who give presentations about drug prevention are now fundraising to keep their programs going. The media need to be more focused on preventing drug use through ad campaigns, he said. “A true, strong demand-reduction program has a focused media component to it (through which) we could dramatically change people’s views about drug use in America” he said. Dr. Frank LoVecchio, a toxicologist with Banner Good Samaritan Medical Center, said 120 people per day in the U.S. die from an opiate-related incident. “Despite the U.S. having only 5 percent of the world’s population, we consume 54 percent of all the Oxycontin in the world,” he said. “And we consume 99 percent of all the hydrocodone.”