Utah Overdose Deaths Decline Since 2012 Despite Surge Nationwide

Over the past decade, Utah has gone from having one of the highest rates of opioid overdose deaths in the nation to one of the lowest in the nation, possibly pushing it against a national upward trend that will peak in 2022. Worst year for overdose so far in America.

In 2012, Beehive had 16.1 deaths per 100,000 population from an opioid overdose, the second highest in the nation, behind New Mexico. data Analyzed by the Kaiser Family Foundation. Only West Virginia had him higher at 27.1.

“They called Utah the Appalachian West,” said Jen Plum, a doctor who founded the nonprofit Utah Naloxone in the late 90s after her brother died of an overdose.

According to the latest public data compiled by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, by 2021 Utah will have 14.1 deaths per 100,000 population, falling to 40th overall, well below the national average of 24.7. rice field.

This trend is similar for all overdoses. In 2012, Utah ranked fourth nationally with 23.1 per 100,000 population, but in 2021 that number has dropped to 42nd overall with 21.1.

“Utah really woke up. In 2012, we were No. 4 in the nation, and no one expected it. When you think about what Utah is most like, it’s not what anyone thinks,” Plum said.

Plum is also a newly elected Democratic state senator representing parts of Salt Lake City. She attributes the drop in death toll to a “cultural shift” among both the public and state legislatures.

“People are happy to talk about their problems and substance-related problems they may have. More doctors are willing to prescribe or treat people who need medical help. … and the power of the proverb really awakened,” she said, referring to conversations with lawmakers who revealed their families were battling opioid addiction.

“They aren’t looking to the old norm of ‘lock the door and the problem will be solved,'” she says. “…there was a feeling that the community cared about you, and that really made a difference.”

But according to Plum, perhaps the easiest explanation for the drop in deaths is the amount of naloxone in Utah. Naloxone is a life-saving opioid overdose remedy that can be administered as a nasal spray or syringe.

Ashland Davis and Volunteers of America practice a naloxone injection during the Utah Naloxone Training for Opioid Overdose in Salt Lake City, May 23, 2023.

Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

Between 2017 and 2021, the state recorded 297,881 doses of naloxone, according to the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). data. A whopping 80% of these doses came from Naloxone, Utah, and the rest from the DHHS program.

“I think most of it going from 4th to 42nd was Dr. Plum flooding Utah with naloxone,” said Riley Drage, who teaches a naloxone training class in Naloxone, Utah. rice field.

That is the mission of this non-profit organization. To flood the state with naloxone.

“Distribute naloxone as much as possible, especially to people who are currently addicted or unprotected. Really try to get naloxone where it will be used.” Drudge said in class on Tuesday.

Plum said there have been nearly 10,000 overdose resolutions since the nonprofit started. That’s a 10,000 second chance.

“If you die from an overdose, you have no chance of recovery,” Plum said.

Hosted by Naloxon, Utah free monthly training Here, anyone can learn the basics of overdose-recovery drugs and receive a free naloxone kit. While some are in-person, virtual classes have exploded in popularity since the pandemic. More than 80 people attended the virtual training on Tuesday, and Drage said he has seen as many as 500 participants so far.

While Utah’s slightly downward trend in deaths is to be celebrated, it is also an indictment to the state of the national opioid crisis. For example, West Virginia’s opioid death rate nearly tripled in 10 years, from 27.1 to 77.2 per 100,000 people.

Other states are seeing similar surges. Tennessee rose from 11.4 in 2012 to 45.5 in 2021. Kentucky saw him jump from 15.5 to 44.8. Maine rose from 7.9 to 42.4.

And Utah still averages about one overdose funeral every day, Plum said.

https://www.deseret.com/utah/2023/5/29/23733732/opioid-overdose-deaths-in-utah-declining-since-2012-despite-national-surge Utah Overdose Deaths Decline Since 2012 Despite Surge Nationwide

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