Utah Clinical Guidelines on Prescribing Opioids

The Issue

Of the 467 drug-related overdoses in Utah in 2007, 317 were attributed to legal drugs, whether prescription or over-the-counter. The most common legally prescribable drugs involved in the deaths were opioid pain relievers, including methadone, morphine, oxycodone, hydrocodone, and fentanyl. 261 of the 317 deaths involved prescription pain medication (opioids).

House Bill 137

In July 2007, the Utah State Legislature passed House Bill 137 appropriating funding to the Utah Department of Health (UDOH) to establish a program to reduce deaths and other harm from prescription opiates. The Prescription Pain Medication Management and Education Program is being led by the Utah Department of Health in collaboration with the Utah attorney general, the Labor Commission, and the Division of Occupational and Professional Licensure (DOPL).

Objective: Reduce deaths from prescription pain medication.

Target: By 2009, reduce deaths from prescription opioids by 15% in Utah.

Results: In 2008, 277 overdose deaths were due to legal drugs. This was a 12.6% reduction from 2007. Of these, 228 deaths involved prescription opioids.

March 2010:
Utah Drug Overdose Decedent Report and Appendix

November 2009:
Final Program Report

March 2009:
Utah Clinical Guidelines on Prescribing Opioids for Treatment of Pain