Episode 112 Death by Prescription: The Opioid Crisis
In 2009 Darlene Schultz’s 18-year-old son went to his doctor to get something for the pain for his degenerative back disease. He had just gotten a job at Home Depot and needed to control his pain so he could work. He came home with oxi-cotton. After 4 years of trying to beat the addiction, going through jail time and immense struggles, in 2013 this same young man overdosed in his parent’s bed and despite all work by paramedics he did not recover.
This mom, along with many others, has felt the shame associated with addiction, the horrible loss of a child and the travail of watching them walk the road of self-loathing and a struggle against a substance that controls their lives.
Stay tuned today for stories from moms who have lost children, for comments from Utah’s Attorney General, Sean Reyes; thoughts from John Huber, the U.S. Attorney for the District of Utah, and his take on prosecuting drug offenders, and thoughts by Brian Besser, the agent in charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration of Utah and the Metro Narcotics Task Force. I also get some interview time with Dr. Jennifer Plumb, a medical professional and tireless fighter in the opioid crisis.
In 2017 49,068 Americans died from opioid-related overdoses. 115 Americans die from opioids every day. From 2010-2016 heroin-related overdose deaths have increased by 500%. And, more than 80% of heroin users started their cycle of addiction with prescription opioids. In October of 2018 the Utah Solutions Summit took place. This was a coming together of law enforcement, doctors, parents, students, recovery groups and many others for an open conversation of stemming the tide of opioid addiction and death. These interviews and stories were collected from this summit to give you, the listener, a well-rounded look at the opioid stories and things being done in our communities – in this case, specifically the state of Utah, who has made tremendous progress because of the willingness of all these parties to work together. Have you wondered about the opioid crisis and the billboards you see along the freeway telling you to get aware? Today’s episode will give you some insight. Some of these comments are coming from panel discussions, some from interviews. You may hear some background noise, but here we go.
Tune into the audio program for stories, interviews, and discussion.
Support Groups for those dealing with addiction or supporting addicts include:
USARA – Utah Support Advocates for Recovery Awareness
180 E. 2100 S. Suite 100 Salt Lake City, UT 84115; 801.599.1667
Overdose Awareness Utah
1021 N. 540 W. American Fork, UT 84003; 801.234.9963; FB: Overdose Awareness Utah
Utah stands as an example as a state who has excellent collaboration between families, politicians, law enforcement and medical professionals who care and are banding together to take on this crisis of addiction that so often begins with prescription pills. Our death toll has decreased this year, due to these efforts, and all are hoping to keep up this trend. If you or someone you love is caught in this crisis, I will have the recommended organizations and contact information in the show notes on the website at www.loveyourstorypodcast.com, and I thank the moms who were willing to share their stories, hearts and advice on the show today. Thanks for being here today, and if you liked the show, please leave a review on iTunes/Apple podcasts or wherever you listen. See you next week on the LYS podcast.