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MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2010 Feb 19;59(6):153-7.

Adult use of prescription opioid pain medications - Utah, 2008.


Fatal and nonfatal overdoses from prescription pain medications have increased in recent years in Utah and throughout the nation. In 2008, the Utah Department of Health added 12 questions to the state's Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) survey to better understand how state residents obtain and use prescription pain medication. Findings from the survey indicated that an estimated 20.8% of Utah adults aged >or=18 years had been prescribed an opioid pain medication during the preceding 12 months. Of those prescribed an opioid pain medication, 3.2% reported using their medication more frequently or in higher doses than had been directed by their doctor; 72.0% reported having leftover medication, and 71.0% of those with leftover medication reported that they had kept the medication. Approximately 1.8% of all adults reported using prescription opioids that had not been prescribed to them. In 2009, the Utah Department of Health published a set of guidelines to reduce morbidity, mortality, and disability associated with misuse or abuse of prescription drugs, especially narcotics. The guidelines include recommendations that providers 1) counsel patients to dispose of unused medication properly once the pain has resolved and 2) prescribe no more than the number of doses needed based on the usual duration of pain severe enough to require opioids for that condition.

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