When it comes to pain pills, Utah has a real problem. The facts are staggering. From 2000 to 2014, Utah has experienced a nearly 400 percent increase in deaths from the misuse and abuse of prescription drugs. In fact, one in four people who receive prescription pain medication long term, for non-cancer pain, struggles with addiction. With over 7,000 opioid prescriptions being issued each day in Utah, there’s never been a more important time for Utahns to speak out about opioids.
So, who’s at risk?
Anyone who uses an opioid is potentially at risk. Clinical studies have shown that a person taking opioids can become physically dependent in just seven days. Use Only as Directed is working to change Utahn’s expectations regarding pain management, helping change the perception that prescription pain medication is necessary any time they are experiencing pain.
What can you do to help prevent opioid abuse?
The first step is to know the risks associated with prescription pain medication (opioids), which includes potential addiction. The second is to have a conversation with your doctor about opioids and other effective alternatives, such as ibuprofen and acetaminophen. Here are five questions to ask your doctor when it comes to opioid pain medication:
1. Am I at risk for addiction?
2. Will another drug work?
3. How long will I be taking opioids?
4. Are you prescribing the lowest possible dose?
5. What’s the plan to taper me off?
It’s time to speak out against the misuse and abuse of opioid pain medications. Speak out in your homes and communities about this statewide health epidemic before it affects someone you love. If you know someone who is struggling with opioid addiction, help create an open non-judgmental environment where they can find the help and support they need. Together, we can overcome the opioid abuse problem in our own communities.