As with many other parts of the country, the state of Utah is experiencing what some officials say is a crisis of prescription painkiller abuse and addiction. The federal Drug Enforcement Administration said OxyContin, meperidine (Demerol), methadone and diazepam (a benzodiazepine) are the most commonly abused and diverted pharmaceuticals in Utah. The Utah Department of Health released alarming statistics earlier this year that show Utah residents are poisoned at twice the national rate. Many of these cases involve prescription painkiller (opiate) overdoses. The health department found that these overdoses skyrocketed by 500 percent between 1999 and 2007. Overdose deaths attributed to prescription painkillers claimed more than twice as many lives as overdoses due to street drugs, the department said in 2007. The U.S. Department of Health said in 2010 that Utah ranks fourth highest in the nation for non-medical use of opiate and that prescription drug overdoses are the top cause of injury deaths in the state.
The most common methods of diversion in Utah include doctor shopping, or the practice of going from doctor to doctor to have multiple supplies of a controlled substance. Other diversion methods include forged prescriptions, employee theft and the illegal sale and distribution by healthcare workers. Young people are also at risk, as Utah officials report that prescription painkillers such as Lortab are being traded and sold in many schools. Young people often have to look no further than the family medicine cabinet. To combat this epidemic, which seems to impact all walks of life, state and federal authorities have initiated a task force to address the problem. Participating agencies include the Utah Department of Health, FBI, DEA, the Salt Lake City police department and others.
Statistics that reflect the rate of prescription opiate abuse and diversion in Utah are sobering. Prescription painkiller addiction can be a lifelong battle for some people. Use can spiral out of control so much that people may resort to crimes out of desperation. Fortunately, there is a place to turn before it’s too late. Waismann Method in southern California has treated thousands of people from around the world for more than a decade. Performed in a hospital, our renowned procedure cleanses the opiates from patients’ systems using non-addicting intravenous medicine. This takes less than two hours and patients rest comfortably under deep sedation during the procedure. An accelerated withdrawal syndrome develops and passes while patients are sedated. This allows them to essentially skip a painful opiate withdrawal. They awaken free of opiate addiction and without conscious awareness they experienced withdrawal. The total hospital stay is usually 3 to 6 days and patients can decide to return home after being discharged. Transitional living is offered as an option through our aftercare facility, Domus Retreat.