Opioids, Good or Bad? Allison Smith

When you hear “prescription drugs”, what is your first thought? There are many different reactions to this, good and bad. Some people have personal stories of loved ones who are either addicted or have died from addiction or misuse. On the other hand, there are those who will tell you that they have saved their life in a time of crisis. There are so many mixed emotions about this topic and it has been a big controversy, especially in Utah.


Utah has increased 400% since 2000 in prescription drug related deaths. You probably wouldn’t have guessed that right? The question is, why? According to Thegaurdian.com Utah has a high rate because of the primary religion, Mormon or LDS. It goes on to say that many Mormons fall back on prescription drugs to deal with the pressure of the religion. It talks about a faithful church member who was unknowingly addicted to prescription drugs. Her sister said that she had been addicted for about 15 years until they would not prescribe them anymore. She didn’t think that it was an issue or an abuse because they were prescribed to her, they weren’t illegal, but soon after prescription was taken away she went to more extreme measures. To cope with the sudden loss of her pills she tried heroine. She tried it one time, and then died. In the article it says that “Maline Hairup was a devout Mormon. No alcohol, no coffee. She didn’t smoke. Until the day she died, she had never used illegal drugs. Yet she was an addict for most of her adult life.”


According to Health.utah.gov every single month in Utah there are 24 people who die from prescription drug overdose. They are killing more people than fire arms, falls, and motor vehicle accidents in Utah. Some of the dangers with prescription drugs include: dependence, slower brain activity, irregular heart beats, high body temperature, heart failure, and lethal seizers. You may wonder how people get these drugs when they do not have a doctor to prescribe them, well a story from Strib.com can answer that. In this article it talks about the biggest opioid pill press in Cottonwood Heights, Utah. This man was a “narcotics trafficker” and was selling thousands and thousands of these knock off prescription drugs. He was said to have 1.3 million in cash just at his house. This was a huge bust in Utah’s history.


You may be wondering why we even have prescription drugs at all? What is the point with all these negative aspects? According to psychecentral.com “people who take their medications consistently demonstrate more healthy behavior overall.” I talked with Braxton Rose, a pharmacy tech at the LDS Hospital, and asked him his view on prescription drugs. His response was, “They are fantastic and do a lot of good for those who need it. There are blood pressure and cholesterol issues that these drugs help regulate. Pain pills that people genuinely need in hospitals after serious accidents.” He may be saying this just so he can keep his job, I still cant tell!


When prescription drugs are used correctly, they are a huge help with pain. Can you imagine shattering your femur and all the doctor gives you is a few ibuprofens? Or if you have a serious mental disease and the only way to regulate your behavior is through prescribed drugs? There are times when prescription drugs are at need for the comfort of others. Pharmacist need to make sure they are giving the right prescription as well, if not, it could be a bitter pill to swallow!


Prescription drugs cure what you need. If one uses their prescription exactly how they are told to, it can do much good, it can save peoples lives, and it can prevent other diseases in the future. They can be the answer to life threatening conditions. Something that is beneficial as well, is that they have short term effects such as,  helping when someone is sick with strep throat or another common sickness.



Some prescription drugs can not only help with what you are suffering, but other issues as well that you may not be aware of. According to http://www.aarp.org/health/drugs-supplements/info-06-2013/surprising-good-side-effects-of-meds.html, there are drugs that have multiple benefits, some of these drugs include Paroxetine, an antidepressant, causes lower risk of heart failure, Beta-blockers, for lower blood pressure, can reduce risk of dementia, Metformin for diabetes, avoids breast cancer, and many more. Many people do not realize that prescription drugs can have benefits as well.



There are so many good and bad facts to prescription drugs. This is one of the reasons why it is a huge topic of conversation here in Utah. So next time you or a loved one is prescribed a narcotic, what will be your action?

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