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Utah working on ways to combat opioid epidemic





As President Trump makes an announcement Thursday about the nation’s opioid problem, Utah advocates, doctors, lawmakers and more are working it.


The state formed a Utah Opioid Task Force earlier this year to take a hard look at the problem.


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In September, Utah’s attorney general and others issued subpoenas to major drug makers to learn whether they intentionally misled patients.


The state has also given doctors access to the controlled substance database, to help cut down on patients who go doctor shopping.

Intermountain Healthcare announced in August ago a major initiative to cut prescribing of pain pills by 40 percent.  And intermountain Dr Scott Whittle says Utahns have to have a major shift in behavior.


“When you are with the doctor, and you are taking about taking an opiate prescription, take the smallest amount necessary. When you take the prescription home, put it in a lockbox,” he said.


Then get the leftovers out of your house.

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Others advocates say the problem began when pain was treated as a disease by itself. The Deseret News wrote an indepth look at that issue, which you can read here.


Christina Zidow, the COO of Odyssey House in Salt Lake City, says society needs to look at handling pain in different ways and getting to the bottom of the problem.


“Make sure if we are given a prescription, see if we really need to take the prescription,” she said, adding that it can take just days to become addicted, and an addict’s pain threshold diminishes, so they feel they need more and more and more.


There’s more from Zidow and two recovering addicts in this story from earlier this week.