Essay on Opioid Overdose Deaths

The Size of the Problem
Drug poisoning is one of the leading cause of injury deaths in Utah. According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) data, in 2016 Utah was ranked 19th in the nationwide overdose deaths per capita. In the same year, there were 466 opioid-related overdose deaths in the state at a rate of 16.4 deaths per 100,000 persons, while in 2017 the number dropped to 360. The incidences of Opioid overdose deaths are maximum in Carbon, Emery, Duchesne, Juab, Weber, Salt Lake, and Tootle counties, where rates are crossing state average of deaths per 100,000 population.

The Seriousness of the Problem
Utah’s highest opioid death rate has cost the state greater than $237 million per year in added healthcare expenditures. Moreover, the expense is not merely financial but emotional and social. Prescription opioids are fatal; people consume them without proper dosage and understanding of their integral risks. Opioids are extremely addictive; individuals become substantially dependent on opioids within seven days of taking them. Data from the Utah Department of Health revealed promising results in the fight against opioids, which have been Utah’s primary goal. The total number of deaths from opioids overdose decreased by 60 in 2017, or about 14 % of the last year’s total.

The Effectiveness of Intervention
Certain initiatives have been taken to prevent overdose deaths, which includes setting a goal to censure opioids prescription for chronic pain by 40%. State departments also aid in reducing the number of pills prescribed elsewhere via coordinated messaging to doctors, patients, and other health care policy-makers. The greatest credit in preventing overdose is the use and distribution of overdose reversal drug, Naloxone, by Plumb Group. Unified police and fire departments have reported that around 5,000 overdose-related calls were received, which most of them were resolved by the fast-acting administration of naloxone. Other state intervention includes the Operation Rio Grande, in which federal, state, county, and city agencies joined to restraint drug dealing near Salt Lake City’s downtown homeless shelter, deliver treatment, and work chances for drug users. Moreover, in May the previous year, Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes announced a lawsuit against Purdue Pharma, which produced OxyContin and other opioids, for increasing the risks of addiction.

The Economics, Acceptability, Resources, and Legality of the Program
The program in dealing with the prevention of overdose issue is Rio Grande operation. Until now, millions have been spent on it. The initiative has achieved one of its goal, which is reducing the number of moments people spend on roads without shelter, from 48.5 to 43.5 days recorded in 2017, in accordance with data reported by state officials. The open-air drug market has been largely cleared out. Funds from the government have helped a significant increase in treatment beds, and the campaign has been set to persuade employers to provide job opportunities to people who might be ready to work.

Despite the fall stated, 700 beds could not be sufficient to provide shelter, since on average, 711 people are taking lodging at The Road Home each night. Even local residents often complained about strangers sleeping in their garden or parks. Therefore, more time is required in order to achieve fruitful results from this operation. There is need for extra treatment beds to prevent homelessness, which is the ultimate cause of drug abuse. Thus, with a little additional effort, this operation could be a great help to prevent overdose drug deaths.

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