13 Sep Utah’s Opioid Epidemic
Have you seen the billboards? Heard any radio ads? Utah is experiencing an opioid epidemic, and it’s no joke. People are dying every day, just as people are beginning the first steps of their journey with opioids. Utah ranks surprisingly high in the nation for drug overdoses, opioid prescriptions, and drug use starting with opioid prescriptions. So what does it mean?
Opioids are essentially prescription pain pills that can very easily ensnare users. Opioids are commonly prescribed by doctors in reaction to an injury, accident, surgery, or other acute medical condition. Chronic pain diseases may also warrant regular prescriptions of opioid painkillers.
The first danger with opioids is tolerance or dependency. Users may begin using the prescription opioids for pain and become totally dependent. Consistent use of opioids will create a tolerance, meaning you need more and more of the drug to achieve the same effects you once enjoyed. The problem? The prescription runs out.
At this point there are plenty of scary options for those addicted to opioids. Some opioid users go to their doctor or a new doctor to continue getting prescriptions they don’t need. Some users begin stealing prescription pills from others. Many take the dangerous turn to other, harder drugs to achieve the relief and “high.” Many meth and heroin users begin by using opioids.
Even if you are using your prescribed opioids as directed, they may be a temptation or opportunity for children or other family members to begin illegally using the opioids. It is critical that you use opioids as designed and prescribed, and keep them carefully protected.
What Can Be Done?
If you have opioids at home, keep them protected or dispose of them in a proper way. If you suspect someone of abusing opioids, keeping naloxone in the home can reverse the effects of an overdose and even save lives. It can be purchased over the counter, and can literally be the difference between life and death.
Change your mindset about prescription opioids – opt to use over the counter painkillers or other methods for pain management in order to avoid hard opioids coming into your home. Talking with family and friends about the epidemic can be a pivotal step to avoiding tragedy.
Reach out to others for help, or to offer help if you fear they are experiencing opioid addiction. With awareness, prevention, and action, the opioid epidemic in Utah can begin to reverse. On average, six Utahns die each day because of opioid addictions and overdoses. Change is a worthwhile goal that will save lives. Let’s begin today to fight Utah’s Opioid Epidemic.