Contacting your Arizona Representatives

Make your voice heard by the people passing the laws! You will need to know the name and contact information for legislators in your district for many of these steps. You can find your legislator by following these instructions.

Request to Speak

Sign Up for the Request To Speak System to give your opinion on bills at the legislature.

RTS is an online system where you can comment and mark you approval/disapproval of all bills that are going thru the legislative process. All members of the House and Senate use the system regularly and pay attention to how much support bills have–this often impacts their decisions.

Important to note: If you have a felony and are not eligible to vote you can still use the RTS system.

If you do not have a RTS account yet:
You must create your initial account using the kiosks at the Capitol. If you can’t make it to the Capitol, we can set up an account for you. Simply fill out this form and we will send you your password in 2-3 business days. Once your password is set, you will be able to use the RTS system from home!

If you already have an active RTS account:
Once you login you will be given two choices:
1) Request to Speak – allows you to have your voice heard
2) Bill Tracking – research bills

To mark your approval of a bill and register your comments:
1) Go to www.azleg.gov
2) Click Legislative Information -> Request to Speak
3) Add “New request”
4) Enter Bill Number:
5) Click Add Request

Mark a thumbs up for the bill and enter comments as you see fit
Please click NO for speaking if you will not be at the committee meeting


Call Script

It’s easy and only takes a minute!

“Hello my name is [NAME],

I’m calling to urge [LAWMAKER] to vote in support to authorize Syringe Service Programs (SSPs) in Arizona because:

  • Overdose deaths from fentanyl mixed into illicit drugs are reaching critical heights and SSPs reach drug users before it’s too late.
  • SSPs protect first responders and law enforcement, keeping them safe from needle-sticks
  • They increase public health and safety in all of Arizona’s communities by helping preventing the spread of Hepatitis C and HIV

Thank you very much for your time.”


Email Template

More comfortable online? Try this!

Subject line: Arizona Needs Syringe Service (Needle Exchange) Programs

Dear Representative/Senator ______,

As a resident (or native) of ______, I was disappointed in the Arizona legislature’s failure to pass HB 2389 during the 2018 legislative session despite widespread, bipartisan support. However I urge you to support Syringe Service legislation this year. SSPs, also known as needle exchange programs, provide overdose prevention education and Naloxone distribution, linkage to housing resources, connection to drug treatment programs and/or plans, HIV and hepatitis C (HCV) testing, and patient navigation services. When equipped with these resources, people who use drugs are able to improve their own health outcomes and those of the people around them. I am deeply concerned about the health and life outcomes of people who use drugs in Arizona without the implementation of SSPs

Arizona is experiencing an unprecedented rise in injection drug use, leading to increases in Hepatitis C and overdose deaths. Since June of 2017 we have lost 2,293 Arizonans to preventable overdose deaths, and there are an estimated 90,000 Arizonans living with Hepatitis C, a virus primarily spread through needle sharing According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), it is the most fatal infectious diseases in the nation, killing more people than the next 60 leading infectious diseases combined. The deadly risks of Hepatitis C and other bloodborne infections brought about by drug use combined with steep rises in overdose deaths make the future of health in Arizona look grim.

Syringe Service programs have a unique point of access within the community of people who inject drugs (PWID), many of whose members have never come into contact with any other social service or public health agency. Indeed, SSPs are the only health or social service accessed by 80% of program participants. It has been shown that SSP participants are five times more likely to enter drug treatment programs, and SSPs help to drastically reduce the number of new HIV and hepatitis C cases–in some states by up to 80%. Because the majority of new hepatitis C and HIV cases are among those who inject drugs, SSPs have a better opportunity to connect those most at-risk of contracting and spreading these diseases with testing and treatment.

While improving the health and life outcomes of people in our community is reason enough to incite policy change concerning opioids, Arizona has also seen a number of major budgetary changes on the state level regarding opioids in the past few years. This makes it important to ask: If Arizona legislators vote to pass syringe service legislation, how will this impact Arizona’s state budget?

To answer this we must remember that lifetime costs of treating a person living with HIV is estimated to be between $385,000-$618,900, while hepatitis C costs $100,000-$500,000 to treat. Since many people who inject drugs are uninsured or reliant on programs like Medicaid, taxpayers bear most of this cost. With individual syringes costing just pennies, it is far cheaper to prevent a new case of HIV or Hepatitis than to assume many years of treatment costs. Additionally, similar programs in the 36 other states which have legalized SSPs, have received funding through other federal programs and private foundations. This means that no state funding will be necessary to support these programs.

Arizonans are being denied expanded access to services to evidence-based, life-saving services. In order to combat the occurrence of overdose-related deaths and the spread of HIV and hepatitis C in Arizona, we need to legalize syringe service programs in the this legislative session. Will you be supporting syringe service programs this year Representative ______?

Sincerely,
[NAME], [LOCATION}


Write a letter

Compose what you want to say

[Date]
1700 W Washington
[Room]
Phoenix, AZ 85007

Dear [Senator/Representative],
I am writing you regarding the Syringe Service Programs (SSPs) in Arizona. I have had experience with the realities of addiction and I feel strongly about the legalization of these programs. Here is some of my story and why SSPs are important to me…
[Briefly share your story in 3-5 sentences]
Evidence has shown that Syringe Service Programs (SSP’s) are a crucial resources point for people who use drugs and decades of research has shown their effectiveness in reducing the spread of blood borne disease. The cost of treating Hep C and HIV can range from 24,000-500,000 and a lot of the time taxpayers pay for this treatment. Meanwhile the cost of a clean syringe is 7 cents! More than that though, SSPs offer many other services including, referrals to treatment, resource navigation, HIV/Hep C testing, distribution of naloxone (the overdose reversal drug) and assists with connecting individuals who might have been overlooked. These individuals come from many different backgrounds and regardless of where they come from they have a right to compassion, safety and health services. I feel that allowing Syringe Service Programs in Arizona would assist thousands of individuals in getting the care they so desperately need while benefiting community health as a whole.
Thank you for your time and I hope you will consider supporting these life saving programs.
Sincerely your local constituent,
[Name]


Visit

Legislators have a limited amount of time in each session to get through lots of bills, meetings, votes, and more, so when a member is called out of chamber to talk with a constituent, it is likely that they will only have a few minutes to step away to talk. To make the most effective use of your time, you’ll want to have an idea of your “elevator speech.” For those who don’t know, an elevator speech is a version of your topic that could be said in a hypothetical 1-2 minute elevator ride. Here is an example elevator speech. Please note that this speech is directed at a specific piece of legislation, and many may choose to direct their conversations towards other legislation, efforts, or in providing overall education or storytelling related to opioid overdose, HIV, and/or HCV.

Shake their hand, make eye contact, and introduce yourself.
Hi Sen./Rep. (legislator’s name), my name is (your name), and I am a (relevant role, list job, volunteer role, family role, etc.) in (current town or hometown in Arizona).

I am _______ . As a constituent in district _____, I was hoping to talk with
you today about (senate/house bill/file name or name the issue). Are you familiar with this bill/ issue?

*If they are familiar: What do you know about this issue and what are your thoughts on it right now?
*If they are not familiar: I would love a few minutes of your time to tell you what’s been happening in our state and provide a solution. <<>>

Ex. The opioid and methamphetamine crises have had an enormous impact on our
state, and I fear the problem will only get worse if the Arizona legislature doesn’t take action this year. Our state has experienced extreme rises in opiate overdose, HIV, and hepatitis C over the past decade as local and state programs are limited in their ability to provide comprehensive, evidence-based services and support to prevent overdose and disease transmission. Syringe service programs, which are legal in 36 other states, would allow for these wrap-around public health services to exist and reach a higher population of people impacted by drug use.

Advocate with lived experience: Share your story to demonstrates how this issue has affected you/your friends or family/your community.

Advocate with professional experience: Offer support from your area of expertise and experiences to validate your teammate’s personal testimony.

Two of the many benefits of this (name solution) are ___________ and __________.

Briefly explain how the solution will provide benefit 1 with 1-2 accompanying facts. Briefly explain how the solution will provide benefit 2 with 1-2 accompanying facts. Do you feel like these benefits could have a positive impact for your other constituents as well? What are your thoughts on this/Do you have any questions? If you would like to stay connected, have more questions, or just would like to learn more, here is (my/name organization) contact information. Thank you so much for your time.

Words to Use

  • Person who uses drugs; person
    who injects drugs
  • Person living with HIV
  • Person living with hepatitis C
  • Sterile; used
  • Drug use
  • Cost-Effective
  • Bipartisan
  • Meets people where they’re
    at; accessible/flexible services;
    evidence-based;
  • Safety-centered; overdose
    prevention focused; disease
    prevention focused; lifesaving

Words to Avoid

  • Addict; junkie; drug abuser; IV drug user, drug-seeking
  • HIV positive person
  • Hepatitis C positive person
  • Clean; dirty
  • Drug abuse; drug misuse
  • Expensive
  • Partisan
  • Hand outs
  • Enabling

Other Tips

Check out this guide to learn more tips on meeting with a legislator. It can seem intimidating your first time, but remember that legislators are people too and it’s part of their job to hear about things that are important to you.

Advocacy Guide