Both a member of the Utah State House of Representatives and a practicing physician, Dr. Ed Redd is gravely concerned about the fact that the rate of prescription opioids dispensed in Utah grew 30 percent from 2002 to 2015. Based on the most recent data available, nearly 300 Utah residents died of opiate overdoses in 2015. Redd said most Cache Valley residents know someone personally.
On May 1, many Utah pharmacies began putting red stickers on bottles of opioids to warn patients about the risk of overdose and addiction as part of a <a href=”http://www.cachevalleydaily.com/news/article_cc0baff2-2e1e-11e7-a504-5362ef97fb87.html” target=”_blank”>new public awareness campaign</a> by the Utah Department of Health to combat painkiller abuses and deaths. While he realizes that many people have persistent long-term pain, Redd said it is important for patients to become more educated on the dangers of opioid misuse during their treatment.
“Some people have some long-term chronic pain, and they need to be on [opioids] long term,” he said. “Sometimes there’s no other option for them as far as pain management’s concerned, at least no other option is available at this time and so they basically are left to use that, and it’s important that they follow up very closely with their physician and their physician knows exactly what medications they’re taking on top of or in addition to the opioids.”
The red stickers, which read “Caution: Opioid. Risk of Overdose and Addiction,” are intended to facilitate discussion between pharmacists and patients as prescriptions are being filled. Redd hopes the month-long campaign will help consumers understand how important it is not to take opioids differently than prescribed.
“They need to understand, ‘Hey, you know, this is potentially dangerous,'” Redd said. “‘You need to be extremely careful and cautious when you use this, and you need to take it under the supervision of a physician.’”