Utah has the 7th highest drug overdose rate in the US. Many addictions begin with a legal prescription. Davis Hospital is standing up to the opioid epidemic.
In October 2017, the White House declared the opioid crisis a national public health emergency. In recent years, opioid abuse has affected every state in both rural and urban areas. Utah is no exception. According to the Utah Department of Health:
- Utah has the 7th highest drug overdose rate in the U.S.
- 6 Utahns die every week from opioid overdose.
- 4 out of 5 heroin users started with prescription opioids.
Taking a Stand at Davis Hospital
At Davis Hospital and Medical Center, we are committed to safe opioid prescription practices, as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). By following leading opioid prescription practices, we hope to combat addiction and overdose rates in our community.
Our goal is to help patients manage their pain while minimizing the risk of addiction or overdose. Health care providers will carefully consider each patient’s medical condition and the risks associated with medications needed to manage pain, and will prescribe the safest and lowest effective dose.
If it is determined that opioids are the best choice for treating your condition, we follow the Utah Department of Health guidelines, which include prescribing the lowest effective dose and no more than the number needed for the usual duration of pain associated with your condition. This is achieved with a focus on:
- Determining when to initiate or continue opioids for chronic pain
- Opioid selection, dosage, duration, follow-up, and discontinuation
- Assessing risk and addressing harms of opioid use
According to the CDC, “Improving the way opioids are prescribed through clinical practice guidelines can ensure patients have access to safer, more effective chronic pain treatment while reducing the number of people who misuse, abuse, or overdose from these drugs.”
The Opioid Crisis in Utah
Unintentional overdose deaths have risen significantly since 2000. Many of these deaths resulted from addictions that began with a legal prescription to treat a short-term injury or aid in recovery from surgery.
In order to reduce the chances of addiction, the CDC recommends that opioids be reserved for treating cancer and facilitating end-of-life care. Most other pain can be better treated with safer medications.
A New Future for Utah
In 2017, Utah experienced a decrease in opioid overdose deaths for the third consecutive year, reports the Utah Department of Health. While a decrease shows movement in the right direction, 237 of the state’s 360 opioid-related deaths in 2017 involved prescription opioids.
Davis Hospital is working to change the future for Utahns. For more information, please contact Davis Hospital and Medical Center at (801) 807-7118.