The United States has been witnessing an increase in the total number of deaths involving prescription drugs. Utah, on the other hand, is often ranked among the leading 10 states in the Union for the rates of prescription drug abuse.
The Department of Health in the state, for instance, reports that drug overdose fatalities among local residents have been shooting up so much so that this problem causes the largest number of death in the state - much more than motor car accidents, accidental falls and slips, and firearm incidents.
The state of Utah is reported to have one of the highest drug related accidental and intentional fatalities in the United States. For instance, its fatality rates in 2007 almost doubled the averages reported at the national level. That year, the United States lost an average of 12.7 lives for every segment of 100,000 people while the state experienced 20.6 deaths for a similar segment of its population.
The major substance of abuse in the state is methamphetamine. It is also responsible for the largest number of people who are admitted into an addiction treatment and rehabilitation facility.
Among those who enroll into these types of centers to get help with their substance abuse and addiction - or any other co-occurring medical or mental health disorders - the most commonly cited drugs include marijuana, heroin, cocaine, and prescription drugs like opioid pain relief medications.
Since the 2000s, the total number of meth labs seized in the state has been dropping. Even so, drug trafficking organizations have increased their operations in Utah - leading to a growing meth problem among local residents.
Most of the meth supplies in the state are imported from southwestern states and neighboring Mexico. Others find their way in through northwestern states such as Montana and Washington as well as Canada.
The other substances of abuse that are common in the state include prescription drugs, particularly opioid pain relief medications. This is clear from the 400 percent increase in the total number of drug related deaths involving prescription medications.
More than 60 percent of the state of Utah is comprised of members of the popular Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints or Mormons. This religion forbids the use of certain substances - but not that of prescription medications.
62 percent of those who abuse prescription drugs in the state, on the other hand, also receive a diagnosis for a metal health disorder, while 61 percent of these people also had a problem with their physical health - mostly one that came with painful symptoms.
Other reports show that 16 percent of people who abuse prescription drugs also struggled with alcohol or drug abuse in the past. Most of them had already achieved recovery before they relapsed and started abusing prescription medications.
Although substance abuse and addiction is a growing problem in Utah, the state has a number of high quality, licensed, and even accredited addiction rehabilitation, treatment, and recovery centers that help clients get started on the road to sobriety, health, and wellness.