10th September 2017
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
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
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 fght Utah’s Opioid