What’s up with UTAH?

Over the years we have heard people say things like, “Utah is number one in drug overdose”, or “Utah is number one in opioid use”, and even “Utah is number one in opioid related deaths.” We have heard people take it a step further and say things like, “southern Utah” or even “St George is number one” in the above categories. Yet when asked about where they got their facts, nobody seems to know. Have you heard this too? Ever wonder where Utah really stands in line with the rest of the U.S. when it comes to opioid use? Well want to set the record straight so we decided to find out. Here’s what we found.


According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, “In 2017, there were 456 drug overdose deaths involving opioids in Utah—a rateof 15.5 deaths per 100,000 persons, compared to the national rate of 14.6 deaths per 100,000 persons. Prescription opioids are the main driver of overdose deaths with nearly 70 percent of deaths in 2017 involving these drugs. The greatest increase, however, occurred among heroin-involved overdose deaths, from 55 deaths in 2010 to 147 deaths in 2017. In the same 7-year period, deaths involving synthetic opioids other than methadone (predominantly fentanyl) doubled from 50 to 92 cases. In 2017, Utah providers wrote 63.8 opioid prescriptions for every 100 persons compared to the average U.S. rate of 58.7 prescriptions (CDC). This represents a 30 percent decline from a peak in 2008 of 91.3 opioid prescriptions for every 100 persons.”

The Utah Department of Health added to these facts stating, “Since 2000, the U.S. has seen a large increase in opioid drug misuse resulting in elevated numbers of overdose cases and deaths. These numbers have reached epidemic levels and drug poisoning is currently the leading cause of deaths due to injuries for adults in the U.S. Drug poisoning deaths have outpaced deaths due to firearms, falls, and motor vehicle crashed in Utah. Utah has ranked top 10 in the nation for overdose deaths over the last 10 years. Between 2013-2015, Utah ranked 7th in the U.S. for drug poisoning deaths, which have outpaced deaths due to firearms, falls, and motor vehicle crashes. Currently, opioid overdose deaths are highest in Carbon, Emery, Duchesne, Juab, Weber, Salt Lake, and Tooele counties, where rates are above the state average of 20.3 deaths per 100,000 population.”


No matter how you slice it, we have a problem here in Utah. Whether myth or fact, all indicators show we have an issue with Opioids in all of the great state of Utah. Some counties have higher rates of use and deaths than others, but regardless, we are all in this together and we all suffer and pay the consequences for opioid addiction.


Thankfully there are many places to go to find help and healing throughout the state of Utah. Chief among them is Hope Rising Detox and Rehab who leads the way as a starting point for change and healing from Opioid use. If you or anyone you know is suffering from Opioid addiction, give us a call and we can set them straight on the facts and put them on a course of Hope, healing and road to recovery.