Utah sees decrease in opioid-related deaths
SALT LAKE CITY — After six years of an upswing, Utah reports a decrease in heroin and opioid overdose deaths.
Some credit goes to easier access to Naloxone and Narcan. Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox (R-Utah) wants to ensure all schools and homes have it on hand.
“You can get it over the counter so that all of us can have it in our homes, even if you don’t think your kids have a problem, to prevent these types of overdoses,” he said.
Cox also credits increases in public awareness of addiction, pressure for doctors to prescribe fewer opioids, and evidence-based data to target deaths and overdoses in more vulnerable areas.
“If we can pinpoint that very quickly, we can prevent additional deaths or clustering that’s happening,” he said.
Utah had 360 opioid-related deaths in 2017, down 19.8% from the year before.
The state reports that prescription opioids were involved in 237 of these deaths, and heroin was involved in 159.
Officials also note that “36 deaths involved both heroin and a prescription opioid; they are counted once separately in each category, and just once in the overall number of opioid overdose deaths. This is why the total number of deaths is less than the sum of Rx + heroin.”
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