Billboards and advertisements about the opioid crisis in Utah surround us as we drive down the freeway, listen to the radio, watch TV, or browse the internet. You may have asked yourself, what is this epidemic that we keep hearing about? What can I do to help? Can this really affect me or people that I love?
Here is a brief overview of the opioid crisis and some tips about how you can help.
First off, if you are struggling with opioid addiction, always remember: You Are One Tough Momma! You can overcome it, and there are people and resources to help!
What are Opioids?
Opioids come from the opium poppy plant. They are created into a type of drug known as a narcotic. Narcotics cause stimulating feelings such as happiness, sometimes referred to as a “high.” Different forms of opioids vary in potency or strength, and all are highly addictive. Not all forms of opioids are illegal drugs. In fact, most opioid overdoses come from prescription opioid pills. People are often prescribed opioids from their doctor for pain management and may not even realize that they are taking an addictive substance. Opioids aren’t just taken in pill form. They can be smoked, taken as a syrup, or crushed into a powder and then injected or snorted.
Prescription Drugs that are considered opioids:
- Oxycodone (OxyContin, Roxicodone and Percocet)
- Hydrocodone (Vicodin, Norcom, Lortab)
- Morphine (MS Contin, Kadian, and Arymo ER)
- Hydromorphone (Dilaudid and Exalgo)
- Fentanyl (Actiq, Fentora, Duragesic, Subsys, Abstral, and Lazanda)
- Methadone (Dolophine and Methadose)
- Meperidine (Demerol)
- Oxymorphone (Opana)
- Tramadol (ConZip, Ultram, and Ryzolt)
What’s the Crisis?
Is this really even that big of a problem? Does it really affect that many people? It does! Every day, 24 people in Utah die from opioid overdose. That’s approximately 8,760 Utahns each year! These people are among us, our neighbors, friends, or possibly even our family members. It is important that individuals are aware of what prescription drugs are opioids. People often become addicted to opioids because they are taking a prescription opioid. This can lead to illicit drug use when the prescription becomes unavailable. Because of the addictive nature of opioids, people can become dependent very quickly. This can happen without a realization or knowledge of what is actually happening.
How can I help?
Know how to recognize the signs and symptoms of opioid addiction:
- Mood swings
- Erratic sleep patterns
- Unexplained medication bottles or pills
- Withdrawal from friends and family
- Asking friends and peers for their medications
If you know anyone who is experiencing these symptoms:
- TALK to them about getting help to overcome their addiction. Visit these websites for more information:
2. BUY a Naloxone kit and keep it on-hand. Naloxone is a medicine that immediately reverses symptoms of an opioid overdose. Visit http://www.utahnaloxone.org/ for more information about Naloxone.
3. ENCOURAGE them to talk to a doctor about how to help them quit.
You Are One Tough Momma
If you are someone who is struggling with opioid addiction, just remember:
You are one tough momma.
You are! You are tough enough to overcome this addiction and feel happy again. Think of all the good things in your life – no matter how bad things may seem right now there is always hope for living happily again.
So, get help! Talk to a trusted family member or friend, and call your doctor about how to overcome this challenge.
You can do it, because you are one tough momma!
 “Information Sheet on Opioid Overdose.” World Health Organization. August 21, 2018. Accessed November 28, 2018. http://www.who.int/substance_abuse/information-sheet/en/.
 “The Big List of Narcotic Drugs.” American Addiction Centers. Accessed November 28, 2018. https://americanaddictioncenters.org/the-big-list-of-narcotic-drugs.