Common misperceptions about opioids and the epidemic in Utah

There's a big problem in Utah with opioid drug misuse.  And, for many, addiction began with a legal prescription.

Lauren Radcliffe, MPH with the Utah Department of Health, says one in four people who receive prescription pain medication long term, for non-cancer pain, struggles with addition.  Physical dependence to opioids can occur in just seven days and can occur to anyone.

Radcliffe says public education and awareness are a big first step in helping combat the problem here in Utah.  She says the more people know and understand the issue, the more they can do to take charge of their own health care and the health care of their loved ones.

Radcliffe says, "" It's important to reduce the stigma and have conversations with our friends and loved ones if we think they are having a problem with opioid misuse. Some people don't know where to turn for help.  We can mitigate the potential shame by proactively and honestly addressing the risk."

Remember -- Substance Abuse Disorder is an illness and it is treatable - there is help available.

For parents in recovery from addiction, the greatest prevention for their children is to role model for breaking the often "intergenerational" cycle of addiction.  Modeling plays a large role in prevention.  Kids who have parents that engage in substance abuse are at a higher risk.

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