Prescription Drug Overdoses

Preventing Prescription Drug Overdoses

When used properly, prescription drugs are an important and necessary component of pain management. However, misue of these medications can lead to serious legal and personal consequences, including health problems and even death. Prescription drug overdoses are preventable through targeted interventions, effective policy strategies, and stakeholder coordination.

Naloxone effectively treats opioid and heroin overdoses.

For decades, research has shown that naloxone can be used to effectively treat opioid and heroin overdoses. Naloxone is an inexpensive, fast-acting drug that when administered during an opioid overdose, blocks the effects of opiates on the brain and restores breathing within two to three minutes of administration. There is no potential for abuse and side effects are rare. You cannot get “high” from using naloxone and it has no potential for misuse.

Legal and FDA-approved, naloxone has been used in the U.S. and throughout the world to combat the rising epidemic of opioid overdoses. Since 1996, states with programs to distribute naloxone report more than 10,000 successful overdose reversals. Research by the Utah Department of Health showed few people, including healthcare providers, were aware of Utah’s current laws that allow physicians to prescribe naloxone to someone at risk of an overdose or who cares for someone at risk of an overdose and administer naloxone without legal liability. In addition, few knew that bystanders or “Good Samaritans” can report an overdose without fear of criminal prosecution for illegal possession of a controlled substance or illicit drug. 

To get a naloxone rescue kit, contact Utah Naloxone visit utahnaloxone.org.

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This wallet-sized card explains what to do in case of an overdose and how to administer naloxone, a lifesaving rescue medication that can immediately reverse opioid overdoses. (Spanish card)

Prevention Tools and Safety Tips

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Downtown Ogden has the 2nd highest rate of prescription pain medication overdoses in Utah. To combat the rising number of overdoses in the Weber-Morgan area, officials from the Utah Department of Health, Weber Human Services, and the Weber-Morgan Health Department released a new toolkit and pocket card to help community leaders and citizens prevent these tragedies. The kit includes information on effective state policies; signs and symptoms of abuse; prevention tips for community leaders, parents, schools, health care providers, and law enforcement; recommendations for the safe use, storage, and disposal of medications; how to work with the media; and a list of Ogden-area resources such as locations of permanent drop-off sites and substance abuse treatment centers.

The Use Only As Directed media and education campaign is designed to prevent and reduce the misuse and abuse of prescription pain medications in Utah by providing information and strategies regarding safe use, safe storage, and safe disposal of these potentially dangerous drugs.

Safe Use

  • Monitor your medications and know where your prescription pain medications are at all times.
  • Keep track of how many prescription pain pills are in your bottle so you are immediately aware if any are missing.
  • Store prescription pain medications out of reach of kids, family, and guests.
  • Keep prescription pain pills in the original bottle with the label attached, and with the child-resistant cap secured.
  • Dispose of all unused and expired prescriptions pain medications properly.
  • Talk to your friends and family about safeguarding their medications and proper disposal.
  • Never take prescription pain medication that is not prescribed to you.
  • Never take your prescription pain medications more often or in higher doses than prescribed.
  • Never drink alcoholic beverages while taking prescription pain medications.
  • Never share your prescription pain medications with anyone.
  • Taking prescription pain medications with other depressants such as sleep aids, anti-anxiety medications, or cold medicines can be dangerous.
  • Properly dispose of all unused and expired prescription pain medications.
  • Tell your healthcare provider about ALL medicines and supplements you take.

Safe Storage

  • Store prescription pain medications out of reach of kids, family, and guests.
  • Know where your prescription pain medications are at all times.
  • Keep prescription pain pills in the original bottle with the label attached, and with the child-resistant cap secured.
  • Keep track of how many prescription pain pills are in your bottle so you are immediately aware if any are missing.
  • Dispose of all unused and expired prescriptions pain medications properly. 

SafeDisposal

For safe disposal of medications in Utah, find a permanent collection site by using the Safe Disposal Drop-off Locator. Learn the facts about Safe Disposal.

Safe Disposal at Home

  • Do not flush, do not pour!
  • Take prescription drugs out of original containers.
  • Crush and mix all unused drugs with an undesirable substance such at used (wet) coffee grounds, moist unused cat little, spoiled food.
  • Throw container in the trash can on the same day the trash is collected.  This extra safety measure can help prevent accidental overdose by children and pets.
  • Conceal, remove, and destroy ALL identifying personal information (prescription label) from all medication containers before recycling them or throwing them away.