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Opioid addiction has been declared a national health crisis and Utah is not immune

Posted at 1:24 PM, Apr 28, 2021

Opioid addiction has been declared a national health crisis and Dr. Jeremy Joyal with MountainStar's Lone Peak Hospital says Utah is not immune.

In fact, he told us an average of five Utahns die from opioid overdose or misuse every week.

Dr. Joyal explained there are two types of opioid use. One for recreational or non-medical purposes where people take opioids for the euphoric effect or to escape their stresses.

In this type of addiction or abuse, doctors focus on mental health and the condition that's causing the stress. There are also non-opioid medications that can help with recovery.

For patients who use opioids for acute or chronic pain, Dr. Joyal says there's a medical specialty devoted to helping them. They focus on diagnosing the source of the pain and find options besides opioids that will help them. He says there are also other treatments like implants.

The overall goal is to help patients to not develop dependency, or if they are on opioids, reduce the risk as much as possible.

Dr. Joyal says there is evidence the COVID-19 pandemic is exacerbating the opioid crisis. Over the past year, people faced additional stresses like economic insecurity and home schooling. There's also been limited access to the normal treatment.

There are tools, resources or programs at LonePeakHospital.com.