Southern Utah Counties Have Higher Opioid Dispensing Rates
Southern Utah counties have made a top ten list that they may wish they could have avoided. Stacker has ranked the counties in Utah with the highest dispense rate of opioids, and all five counties here in the southwest part of the state were in the top ten. The rankings were based on the amount dispensing rate of opioids per 100 persons in a specific county.
The opioid crisis gripping nations worldwide constitutes one of the most pressing public health challenges of our time. Opioids, a class of drugs including prescription pain relievers like OxyContin, as well as illicit drugs like heroin, bind to receptors in the brain, altering the way the body perceives pain and inducing a sense of euphoria.
While these drugs can be highly effective in managing pain when used correctly, their misuse has led to devastating consequences.
One of the primary factors contributing to the opioid epidemic is the overprescription of painkillers. In the late 1990s, pharmaceutical companies assured healthcare providers that patients would not become addicted to prescription opioids, leading to a surge in their prescription rates.
Many individuals, initially using these medications for legitimate medical reasons, found themselves ensnared in the clutches of addiction. When their prescriptions ran out, they often turned to illicit substances like heroin, exacerbating the crisis further.
In the five counties here in southern Utah, Beaver County had the highest opioid dispensing rate at 77.3 per 100 people. That put it at the second highest in the state. Beaver County was 51.4% higher than the state average and 69.3 percent higher than the national average.
Washington County had a dispensing rate of 67.2 per 100 persons, which put that county fourth highest on the list. Garfield County's dispensing rate was 56.4 per 100 persons and was the sixth highest rate in the state. The dispensing rate in Iron County was 53.6 per 100 persons and placed eighth highest on the list. In Kane County the dispensing rate was 46.7 per 100 people, which is actually lower than the state average, but still higher than the national average.
Addressing the opioid crisis demands a comprehensive approach. This includes enhancing prescription drug monitoring programs to prevent overprescribing, increasing access to evidence-based addiction treatment, and providing support for individuals in recovery.
By focusing on prevention, treatment, and support, society can hope to mitigate the devastating impact of the opioid crisis and help those affected reclaim their lives.
Keep scrolling to see the top ten counties for dispensing rates of opioids in Utah.
Top Ten Utah Counties For Opioid Dispensing
Gallery Credit: Dr. T