SALT LAKE CITY, Utah — As we continue our Finding Hope coverage, we're exploring how neighboring states are combating the opioid epidemic.
As we've previously reported in our continuing coverage, Salt Lake City not only has close ties to many people living in the Treasure Valley, but also to the drugs coming into Idaho.
The Salt Lake City metro area is home to about 1.2 million people and--like many other major cities across the country--has a major opioid problem.
Just in the last year, though, they've made major progress. For one, Intermountain Healthcare managed to cut down on prescription opioids by 3.8 million pills. They've cut back prescriptions by 30% for both prescription painkillers for acute pain and the anxiety drug Benzodiazepine.
“We know that the two medications taken together creates a significant risk that the patient will stop breathing, and we know it creates a lot of death in the community," Intermountain Healthcare Senior Medical Director Dr. David Hasleton said.
Although Utah ranks seventh in the country for deadly overdoses, they've seen a 12% reduction in recent years.
We'll be talking with Intermountain Healthcare and several other agencies while we are in Salt Lake City to learn more about how they have managed to make such significant progress in such a short period of time. We'll be bringing you our findings in our continuing Finding Hope coverage right here on 6 On Your Side.