The data surrounding prescription opioid abuse in Utah is staggering.
The Beehive State was fourth in the nation for prescription opioid overdose deaths between 2012 and 2014, according to the Utah Department of Health. In 2014, an average of 24 Utah adults died every month as a result of prescription opioid overdoses.
Drug poisoning is the leading cause of death in Utah — more deadly than falls, car crashes and gun deaths.
And to compound things, there are more than 7,000 opioid prescriptions filled in Utah every day, and physical dependence on those prescriptions can occur within seven days of use.
The Weber County-sponsored Utah Prevention Summit, held at the Ogden Eccles Conference Center, highlighted substance abuse prevention services in Utah and included a presentation on the state’s opioid crisis.
Friday’s summit also featured presentations from East Coast substance abuse experts Dr. Gil Botvin and Kat Allen.
Dr. Botvin is the developer of a student tobacco, alcohol and drug abuse prevention program called Life Skills Training. He spoke Friday about the importance of rigorously tested, evidence-based prevention programs.
Botvin said it’s necessary to go beyond just teaching information and principles about the dangers of drug abuse. He says students must learn skills related to resisting social pressure, developing self-confidence, coping with stress and anxiety, and increasing knowledge of the immediate consequences of substance abuse.