opioid addiction | KUER 90.1

opioid addiction

Whittney Evans

A Justice Department program that tackles heroin, prescription drug abuse and violent crime is coming to Utah.

Nicole Nixon

While some are praising Utah’s new needle exchange program, which operates primarily in Salt Lake County, officials in other parts of the state are skeptical. 

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Local health care and law enforcement leaders are among those meeting this week to discuss Utah’s opioid addiction crisis. It’s part of a summit to talk about obstacles and forge collaborative solutions.

Nicole Nixon

Law enforcement authorities are warning that the dangerous narcotic fentanyl is becoming a more common street drug in Utah.

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The federal government is providing millions of dollars to help states fight abuse of opioids, and Utah will receive some of that money.

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A state lawmaker is working on new legislation to curb pain pill addiction in Utah. This one starts at the doctor’s office.

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Members of Congress met in conference Wednesday to hash out an agreement on comprehensive legislation to address the opioid epidemic. While the parties disagree about funding, Utah advocates say the need for help is urgent.

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White House Drug Control Policy Director Michael Botticelli was in Salt Lake City Thursday to talk with community leaders about efforts to address opioid addiction.

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Intermountain Healthcare announced an effort Thursday to reduce drug overdose deaths by increasing access to an antidote called Naloxone. Utahns can now visit any Intermountain community pharmacy in the state and buy Naloxone without a prescription from a doctor.

Andrea Smardon / KUER

This week several laws went into effect intended to address Utah’s addiction to pain pills and opioids. Lawmakers this year approved legislation that will allow for the creation of a needle exchange and for anyone to distribute a drug overdose antidote called Naloxone. KUER's Andrea Smardon talks with Sam Plumb, whose brother died of a heroin overdose. Plumb and his sister Jennifer together started an organization last year called Utah Naloxone at University of Utah Health Care.

Andrea Smardon / KUER

A former St. George doctor has been sentenced to more than eight years in prison for illegally prescribing pain pills.

Andrea Smardon / KUER

Law enforcement officials are asking for help in curbing what they call a tidal wave of addiction in Utah.

Andrea Smardon / KUER

New data shows six people die each week in Utah as a result of overdosing on prescription painkillers. A campaign is underway to safely dispose of the drugs that are killing people.

Committee Passes 5 Bills to Prevent Drug Overdoses

Feb 11, 2016
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A legislative committee passed several bills dealing with Utah’s growing problem of drug overdose deaths on Thursday.

Brian Grimmett / KUER file photo

Two medical marijuana proposals will be vetted by separate Utah legislative committees Thursday.