Department of Education and AHCCCS Announce Partnership

Published: September 24th, 2019

The Arizona Department of Education (ADE) and the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System (AHCCCS) today announced a partnership to provide social-emotional professional development trainings to Arizona teachers. The PAX Good Behavior Game (PAX GBG) is a powerful evidence-based practice, consisting of proven instructional and behavioral health strategies used daily by teachers and students in the classroom. This universal preventive approach not only improves classroom behavior and educational outcomes but also provides a lifetime of benefits for every child by improving self-regulation and co-regulation with peers. Children, their families, teachers, and society benefit for decades as a result. The materials and trainings will be offered to school districts throughout the state and will be paid for using federal opioid prevention funds. Outreach to school districts has begun through Arizona’s County School Superintendents and the Arizona Charter School Association.

“Addressing the social-emotional needs of our students is a top priority for my administration,” said Superintendent of Public Instruction Kathy Hoffman. “A comprehensive approach to school safety must include a focus on the mental health of all of our students, including those in early grades. The skills provided to teachers through these trainings will have an enormous impact on our state well into the future. I’m excited to work with AHCCCS and PAX to provide this opportunity to our schools, teachers, and students.”

“In addition to treatment and recovery services, Arizona is focusing federal opioid response funding on evidence-based prevention techniques in order to change the trajectory for future generations,” said Dr. Sara Salek, AHCCCS Chief Medical Officer. “The PAX Good Behavior Game is one such prevention program that reduces the likelihood of future opioid use. We are pleased to bring this program to Arizona schools and confident it will benefit students, families, teachers, and society as a whole.”

“Tucson, Arizona, is the birthplace of the PAX Good Behavior Game (PAX GBG), with more than 100 published studies in the U.S. National Library of Medicine. More than 40,000 teachers and 1 million children have been protected by PAX since 1999,” said Dr. Dennis Embry, President of the PAXIS Institute. “Our scientific colleagues around the world have proven that PAX GBG improves reading and math scores, reduces virtually every addiction over an individual’s lifetime—including from opiates, tobacco, or alcohol use, reduces suicide, and increases high-school graduation, university entry, and gainful employment.”

Other studies show PAX GBG reduces teacher stress, increases time for teaching and learning and even reduces violent injuries at schools as well as reducing overall crime. Multiple states, now including Arizona, have or are implementing PAX GBG with State Opioid Response funding because PAX GBG is the only elementary school program proven to reduce lifetime opiate use.

School districts interested in learning more should contact [email protected] for information.

To learn more about the research behind PAX GBG visit: or