Facts, Information and Statistics About Utah’s Problems with Drug and Alcohol Abuse
The United States is currently facing one of the most widespread increases of drug overdose deaths in history. While alcohol and several illicit drugs such as methamphetamine, synthetic drugs, cocaine, MDMA, and heroin continue to be pressing concerns for law enforcement and substance abuse professionals; the leading cause of accidental overdose deaths is prescription opioids.
Every state has to handle substance abuse issues, but Utah has some unique concerns. Prescription opioids have been responsible for a dramatic increase in the number of drug-related deaths over the past decade, particularly since 2011. On average, 23 people die from prescription opioid overdoses in Utah each month.
The Problems with Prescriptions
Awareness plays a large role in preventing substance abuse and overdose deaths. Unfortunately, many patients simply assume that medications prescribed by a doctor are inherently safe. The recent nationwide spike in prescription opioid deaths has caused lawmakers at the federal level to demand more robust training and education for distributors of prescription opioids and for the doctors who prescribe them. Too many patients take these medications without understanding the risks and do not know how to identify the early warning signs of addiction.
Once a person has become addicted to prescription opioids, the withdrawal symptoms are extremely uncomfortable. Opioid withdrawal typically entails nausea, disorientation, sleeping problems, mood swings, dehydration, and a host of other issues. If a person’s addiction is severe enough, the onset of withdrawal symptoms can put his or her life at risk. The vast majority of prescription opioid deaths are accidental – patients simply did not realize how much they were taking or had no one else present to supervise or offer aid.
Patients will sometimes confuse the onset of withdrawal symptoms as symptoms of their previous medical issue and take their medications longer than necessary. Once the refills run out, some patients will turn to “doctor shopping” to obtain more. Essentially, an addict will visit multiple doctors in an effort to obtain multiple prescriptions for their drug of choice. Having acquired these prescriptions, they have filled at multiple pharmacies. Some drug dealers employ this technique to gather a stockpile of prescription pills to sell illegally. While addicts can continue to purchase opioids through drug dealers, heroin offers a much cheaper alternative.
Heroin is dangerous because it is not regulated. Drug dealers often mix their heroin supply with other chemicals in order to alter its effects or increase their potential profits. While some dealers dilute the heroin in order to encourage repeat sales to addicts who need increasingly larger doses, others alter their heroin by adding drugs such as cocaine or Fentanyl. Fentanyl is extremely deadly in small doses, and can even prove fatal when absorbed through the skin. Additionally, heroin is usually taken without consideration for sterile conditions, resulting in a high risk of infections, diseases, and contracting blood-borne illnesses from other users.
Utah’s Counterattacks Against Overdose Deaths
Utah passed two laws in 2014 aimed at curbing the number of drug overdose deaths in the state. The first, House Bill 11, or the “Good Samaritan Law”, allows bystanders to report an overdose event to emergency services without fear of criminal prosecution. For drugs like heroin, users often congregate to use the drug and obtain more doses. Many deaths have been the result of others’ unwillingness to alert the authorities out of fear that they would face charges themselves.
The second was House Bill 119, the Naloxone Law. Naloxone is a very effective synthetic opioid that can stop the life-threatening effects of an opioid overdose. Previously only available with a valid prescription, this bill allows third parties to obtain Naloxone through a physician without fear of legal liability. Typically, this is a bystander or caregiver for the victim and the Naloxone Law hopes to encourage loved ones of addicts to act in case of an emergency.
Out of State Treatment Options Remain Preferable
Despite the efforts of Utah lawmakers and awareness campaigns, Utah addicts may not be able to secure the kind of treatment they need to achieve sobriety in the state. The treatment centers of Florida rank among the world’s best and Utah citizens may find the kind of treatment they need in “The Recovery State.” Stopping substance abuse and lowering the number of overdose deaths in the country requires awareness, advocacy, education, and access to treatment. Individuals come to Florida from all over the country because of Florida’s robust and experienced substance abuse treatment network.
Florida’s History with Drugs
Florida has been a major shipping hub of the United States since the nation’s founding, and countless amounts of international cargo have reached the country through Miami and Florida’s other ports. Consequently, Florida has historically been the first to witness new smuggling techniques, new illicit substances, and the effects these substances have on communities.
Drug crime affects the entire country, but it is particularly concentrated in the areas where drugs most often reach U.S. soil from outside the country. Florida law enforcement has recently dealt with new drug combinations and “designer” drugs with severe effects such as “Flakka” and bath salts. These drugs create intense hallucinations and a state of “excited delirium” which can cause paranoia, aggression, and life-threatening health complications.
Choose the Nation’s Best Treatment
If you decide to come to Florida for treatment, you’ll have access to one of the largest substance abuse support systems in the country. Since Florida has been on the forefront of the fight against drugs for years, the state is now home to the best substance abuse counselors and physicians in the country. Additionally, Florida researchers have devised some of the leading techniques in substance abuse treatment.
The Treatment Center Difference
The Treatment Center of the Palm Beaches, LLC is situated two miles from the Florida coast and offers the most comprehensive substance abuse treatment available. Our team is committed to helping every patient’s unique situation in order to reach total sobriety. Our services extend from medically assisted detoxification and group therapy to continual care, behavioral health services, and individual counseling. Visit The Treatment Center to see the best substance abuse treatment available in Florida, and our team will develop a treatment plan specially tailored to you or your loved one.