Utah needs a breakup.
When it comes to pain pills, and treating pain, Utah has a real problem. The facts are staggering. Utah is fourth in the nation for unintentional overdose deaths. In fact, one if four people who receive prescription pain medication long term, for non-cancer pain, struggles with addiction. With over 7,000 opioid prescriptions being filled each day in Utah, there’s too many prescription painkillers in medicine cabinets that can be misused or abused.
7 days can be all it takes.
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. That’s why the Use Only as Directed public awareness campaign is encouraging Utahn’s to change their expectations regarding pain management. There are safer and more effective alternatives you can use when experiencing pain.
Opt out of opioids.
The first step is to know the risks associated with prescription pain medication. Opioids include prescription medications such as Lortab, Oxycontin, Percocet, Vicodin, morphine, methadone, codeine, Demerol, Norco and others. The second is to have a conversation with your doctor about ways to manage your pain that don’t include opioids. The CDC has recommended the following alternatives that can be more effective, and have fewer risks and side effects than opioids. Here are some options you can ask your health care provider or pharmacist about:
• Over-the-counter pain relievers such as acetaminophen, ibuprofen and naproxen
• Some non-narcotic medications that are also used for depression or seizures
• Physical therapy and exercise
And if you do have prescription opioids in your home, be sure to know where your medications are at all times and store them in a secure place, out of the reach of kids, family and guests. You can safely dispose of all unused and expired medications by using one of the 100 permanent medication drop boxes across the state. Visit useonlyasdirected.org to find a drop box near you. Together, we can turn the tide on the opioid epidemic in Utah.