Increased Precautions We're Taking in Response to COVID-19

LAST UPDATED ON 03/15/2021

As updates on the impact of the coronavirus continue to be released, we want to take a moment to inform you of the heightened preventative measures we have put in place at Sierra Tucson to keep our patients, their families, and our employees safe. All efforts are guided by and in adherence to the recommendations distributed by the CDC.

Please note that for the safety of our patients, their families, and our staff, there are certain restrictions in place regarding on-site visitation at Sierra Tucson.

  • These restrictions have been implemented in compliance with updated corporate and state regulations to further reduce the risks associated with COVID-19.
  • Options for telehealth visitation are continuously evaluated so that our patients can remain connected to their loved ones.
  • Alternate methods of communication for other services may be offered when deemed clinically appropriate.

For specific information regarding these changes and limitations, please contact us directly.

CDC updates are consistently monitored to ensure that all guidance followed is based on the latest information released.

  • All staff receives ongoing infection prevention and control training.
  • Thorough disinfection and hygiene guidance is provided.
  • Patient care supplies such as masks and hand sanitizer are monitored and utilized.
  • Temperature and symptom screening protocols are in place for all patients and staff.
  • Social distancing strategies have been implemented to ensure that patients and staff maintain proper distance from one another at all times.
  • Cleaning service contracts have been reviewed for additional support.
  • Personal protective equipment items are routinely checked to ensure proper and secure storage.
  • CDC informational posters are on display to provide important reminders on proper infection prevention procedures.

The safety of our patients, their families, and our employees is our top priority, and we will remain steadfast in our efforts to reduce any risk associated with COVID-19.

The CDC has provided a list of easy tips that can help prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue and then immediately dispose of the tissue.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Clean and disinfect objects and surfaces that are frequently touched.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Stay home when you are sick, except to get medical care.

For detailed information on COVID-19, please visit

Talk About Your Medicines Month

Sierra Tucson – Ranked #1 in Newsweek’s list of Best Addiction Treatment Centers in Arizona for 2020!

What do Heath Ledger, Anna Nicole Smith, and Chris Farley have in common? They were celebrities whose lives suddenly ended from drug overdose. Sadly, all three tragedies were directly linked to abuse of prescription medications. While the abuse of many illicit schedule controlled substances has steadily declined in the general population, the misuse of opioids (substances found in almost every prescription pain reliever) has increased drastically. According to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), it is estimated that between 26.4 million and 36 million people abuse opioids worldwide.[1] What’s more, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) estimated that 2.1 million people in the United States suffered from substance use disorders related to prescription opioid pain relievers in 2012, while an estimated 467,000 were addicted to heroin.[2]

According to the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM), opioid addiction is driving the overdose epidemic, with more than 20,000 overdose deaths in the U.S. in 2015. Fortunately, there are ways to prevent opioid-related fatalities. Knowing how to safely use, store, and dispose of medications can help put a halt to this epidemic. Individuals will have a greater awareness of the negative outcomes, thus helping to reduce the risk of accidental overdose.

Safe Usage

Opioids, which send pain-blocking signals to the brain, are found in prescription pain relievers such as hydrocodone, codeine, and morphine. For chronic pain sufferers and cancer patients, these medications are highly beneficial as they play a key role in treating long-lasting pain. However, when not used as prescribed, abusing opioids can negatively impact your health.

Unbeknownst to many, everyday pain relievers such as Tylenol and Advil can cause severe damage to vital organs or even fatality, if used incorrectly. Whether it be a pain medication containing opioids prescribed by a doctor, or an over-the-counter substance, one should adhere to label instructions or doctor’s orders to prevent abuse and make consumption as safe as possible. Ultimately, pain relievers can be very helpful, but the slightest abuse of a medication can be life-threatening.

If you’re unsure about a medication, contact your doctor or pharmacist before use. Here are a few ways to safely use medications:

  • Always ask about side effects and how you might react if you are taking other medications or vitamins.
  • Be certain you understand how and when to take the medication.
  • Make sure you know the prescribed duration of treatment and ask if you should finish the prescription even if you aren’t experiencing pain.
  • Schedule an appointment with your doctor for a review of your medications. Put everything (including vitamins and over-the-counter medications) into a secure bag and bring it with you to your appointment. The doctor should inform you of any medications that could cause a negative reaction when taken together.

Proper Storage

Not only is proper storage vital to safety, but where you store your medicine can also affect how well it works. Always keep medications out of reach from children and in a locked cabinet. Improper storage can lead to misuse/abuse by another individual, deteriorate the drug’s effectiveness, or even cause you harm. Heat, light, air, and moisture can alter medication, making it less potent or causing it to expire before the expiration date. It is important to keep medicine in its original container. When in doubt, ask your pharmacist for specific storage instructions.

When it’s time to dispose of your medications:

  • Transfer unused medicines to authorized collectors. You can find a DEA-authorized collector in your area.
  • You can discard most medicines in the household trash by following these steps:
  • Mix medicines (uncrushed) in dirt, used coffee grounds, or cat litter.
  • Place mixture in sealed plastic bag.
  • Throw bag in household trash and be sure to scratch out all personal information from prescription bottles or packaging.

Signs and Symptoms of Abuse

The signs and symptoms of opioid abuse can depend on many factors and may include the following:

Behavioral symptoms:

  • Withdrawal from family and friends
  • Expressions of unprovoked anger
  • Dramatic changes in clothing, weight, and personal hygiene
  • Inability to plan or follow through with plans
  • Obsession with acquiring and using drugs
  • Lying about whereabouts

Physical symptoms:

  • Impaired motor coordination
  • Shallow breathing and slowed heart rate
  • Dilated pupils

Cognitive symptoms:

  • Memory problems
  • Excessive sleepiness

Knowledge Is Power

The best way to prevent opioid overdose is to improve prescribing, reduce exposure, and stop abuse. With a combined use of counseling and behavioral therapies, the Addiction Recovery Program and Pain Recovery Program at Sierra Tucson offer comprehensive residential treatment for those struggling with opioid addiction. A multidisciplinary team of professionals provides an individualized plan to meet the specific needs of each resident. If you or your loved one is abusing prescribed pain medications and/or opiates, please contact our Admissions Coordinators at (844) 335-1495. We can help.

[1] UNODC, World Drug Report 2012.

[2] Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Results from the 2012 National Survey on Drug Use and Health: Summary of National Findings, NSDUH Series H-46, HHS Publication No. (SMA) 13-4795. Rockville, MD: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 2013.