Skip to comments.Utah has new prescription for painkiller problem
Posted on 04/15/2009 9:18:17 PM PDT by Alex Murphy
Utah is known nationwide for the wrong reason.
"Utah has a pharmaceutical drug problem," said Jeffery Sweetin, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration special agent who oversees Utah.
Sweetin and other police and health workers met Wednesday to introduce the latest attempt to curb prescription-drug use and sales in Utah, which a 2007 report said had the country's highest rate of nonmedical painkiller abuse.
Called the Utah Pharmaceutical Drug Crime Project, the task force is pairing local police with federal agents as well as health workers. Representatives at a press conference Monday said the intent is to better communicate with one another to stop the selling, buying or stealing of prescription drugs while also educating the public on the dangers of painkilling medication.
Utah in 2007 recorded 317 deaths related to nonillicit drugs -- double the number six years earlier and far more than died from heroin, cocaine and other infamous drugs.
In the past year, the Utah Department of Health has tried to address the problem by developing guidelines for doctors on when and how to prescribe pain medication.
Also, the department has launched a public service campaign called "Use Only As Directed" that has included a television advertisement depicting a middle-aged father dying on his living room sofa after improperly taking his medication. Funding for the media campaign ends June 30.
Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff on Monday attributed part of Utah's problems to the Mormon culture, which discourages alcohol and illicit drugs but is more tolerant of prescriptions.
"In some societies, they have a problem and they self-medicate with alcohol," said Shurtleff, who said he took painkillers during his long recovery from a 2007 motorcycle crash but was careful to use the medication properly and no longer uses it.
Shurtleff said Utah also suffers from a communication problem where people with problems and addictions do not want to discuss them.
"We are a pill-popping society," Shurtleff said.
State or federal authorities have prosecuted a few doctors in recent years for allegedly prescribing large amounts of painkillers without a valid reason. No representatives of physicians were at Monday's press conference.
Mark Fotheringham, a spokesman for Utah Medical Association, in a telephone interview supported prosecuting doctors who clearly break the law, but warned aggressive monitoring of doctors may deter some from prescribing painkillers even for the very sick.
"There are physicians that get nervous about people looking into their legitimate medical practice and saying that because you're distributing more prescription drugs you may be doing something wrong," Fotheringham said.
Sweetin said the new group only intends to prosecute lawbreaking doctors. He said Utah is implementing a unique approach to prescription drugs that other states are watching.
"My hope is by this time next year we'll be leading the nation in another way," Sweetin said. "They'll say, 'Go look at what Utah is doing.' "
Another interesting study looked at the rate of antidepressant prescriptions filled in the state of Utah. The antidepressant Prozac (and similar drugs) has the highest number of prescriptions in Utah, per capita, of any state in the USA:
...adults who use such drugs also commit violent crimes at a higher rate. Dr. Tracy is from Utah where the use of Ritalin and Prozac are reported to be at a rate three times greater than the rest of the country per capita. She said Utahs rate of murders and suicides has also increased by a similar amount...Article found here, and a related FR thread here.
...this is what happens when you make the booze hard to get, hahaha.
I guess they left Ritalin and Prozac out of the Word of Wisdom. Well at least they don’t drink that evil Black Pekoe weed. God forbid they should get be exposed to caffeine.
Utah has the highest per capita rate of Women who seek out psychiatric/psychological counselling and anti-depressant usage, which has been statitically linked to Mormonism. It's a secret the Mormon church doesn't want widely known.
Yep, we’re all pill-popping, deeply depressed Mormons up here. Every one of us. It’s part of our religion, obviously. They dispense Prozac during the temple ceremony, you know.
I hear you guys wash it down with Pe Le Ale.
I think a lot of it has to do with the stress of being (or appearing to be) “perfect”, especially for the women. Imagine have to have the perfect house, the perfect marriage, the perfect kids (all 5, 7, 10 of them), and being the perfect housewife/mother/LDS woman. It is an insane amount of stress.
IMO, it is worse in Utah than in other places because of the higher numbers of LDS. Out in the “mission field” (pretty much anywhere outside Utah) an LDS woman is more likely to have close non-LDS friends who are not going to expect her to be perfect. That was my experience both living in Utah and outside of Utah as an LDS woman in the 1980’s and 1990’s.
I knew an LDS woman (in Utah) whose husband had an affair, was caught and facing excommunication (he was excomm’d shortly after that). They had 5 kids (some still at home), her biggest concern was what the other women in the Ward (LDS congregation) would think of her. She did not know what she had done that her life was not “perfect”, and was horrified that others would see her as anything but having the perfect life.
In my experience, there is a unspoken LDS belief that if your life is anything but “perfect” then there must be something wrong with you, either your not “living the commandments”, you don’t have a “strong enough testimony”, are not paying your full tithing, etc.
When I came out of the LDS church and admitted to Christ that I was a sinner and couldn’t be perfect no matter how hard I tried, I LITERALLY felt the weight of having to be “perfect” lifted off my shoulders. I am made perfect in the eyes of God by the sacrifice of His son, not through the things I do. That was the greatest relief there was. Only then did I realize the amount of pressure I had put myself under and the amount of pressure the LDS church had put on me.
Stress of being LDS ping.
I'm not stressed :))
Stress of being LDS ping.
I’m not stressed :))
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You are not LDS. :))
Wow! That's a relief!
ROFL. Yes it is.