The Hidden Plague: Utah’s opioid epidemic

The illicit drug trade is undergoing a seismic shift, with Utah in the middle of the deadly trade of the opioid fentanyl

County leaders lauded the “landmark” settlement, noting it is one of the largest civil litigation settlements in Salt Lake County’s history.
Carbon County has the highest rate of prescription overdose deaths in Utah and one of the highest rates of retail opioid prescriptions dispensed per 100 people nationwide. Both are distressing distinctions, and their impacts are deeply personal.
Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion is a pre-booking diversion program developed to address low-level drug and prostitution crimes in Seattle.
After a decades-long battle with opioids, former BYU running back Alema Harrington has dedicated himself to helping others overcome their addiction.
Jenna Uitdenhowen spent more than 20 years addicted to opioids. She’s now the medical coordinator at The Odyssey House, one of Utah’s leading addiction recovery programs.
Mike Bennett was at the top of his career: the superintendent of Iron County public schools and a bishop in the LDS Church. But then he got addicted to opioids.
For years, Ashly and Jesse searched fruitlessly for freedom from opioid addiction. First they found God. Then they found each other.
An investigation by the Deseret News has revealed that in recent years, the number of people enrolled in drug courts in some states, including Utah, has been declining. In 2017, nearly 200 fewer people were enrolled in Utah drug courts than in 2015.
After a healthy 21-year-old Vernal man died unexpectedly following a tonsillectomy, his family — and the very doctor who prescribed him his pain medication — are warning of the dangers of opioids even for those who take them as instructed.
Utah became a mecca for doctors interested in using opioids to treat chronic pain. Their well-intentioned ideas may have contributed to a national crisis.
In September 2016, two 13-year-old friends in Park City died after overdosing on “pink,” a synthetic opioid from China. Their deaths revealed how the opioid crisis afflicts even affluent communities.
Special report: The illicit drug trade is undergoing a seismic shift, with Utah in the middle of the deadly trade of the opioid fentanyl. This is the first in an ongoing series about this modern-day plague.