Prescription Drug Overdose
Today in the St. George News, there’s an article that discusses a new proposal that might help reduce the amount of deaths due to drug overdoses: good samaritans who assist emergency responders identify and treat overdose victims will have limited immunity if they are under the influence.
Also in the article are some shocking statistics about prescription drug use in Utah:
In Washington County, between 2008 and 2012 there were 125 confirmed unintentional poisoning deaths caused by drugs, according to Utah Department of Health statistics. Of those deaths, 68 of them occurred in the City of St. George.
The vast majority of poisoning deaths were from prescription pain killers, Southwest Utah Department of Health Public Information Officer David Heaton said. Statewide, there were 502 drug poisoning deaths in in 2012 alone–the highest overdose death toll in Utah history. Of those, 323 were from prescription drugs.
While the proposed immunity law will hopefully reduce the number of deaths, it is also important to remember that someone is prescribing these drugs to their patients. Patients who have legitimate, serious pain need very close medical monitoring and medication management. All too often doctors prescribe painkillers without providing the necessary treatment and supervision, leading to addiction and accidental overdose.
If you or a loved one are struggling with addiction to prescription drugs, there are a lot of resources for help. Here are a few: