Prescription Drug Overdoses


If you or someone you know has overdosed on drugs or been poisoned, call 9-1-1 or the Utah Poison Control Center at 1-800-222-1222 immediately!

The Utah Poison Control Center is a 24-hour resource for poison information and education.
Calling the is free and private.


Prescription Pain Medication Deaths in Utah, 2012 and Infographic

prescription pain deaths

Prescription drug abuse means taking a prescription medication that was not prescribed for you or taking a prescription drug for reasons or in dosages other than prescribed. Most drug abuse that occurs in Utah is from prescription drugs.

When used properly, prescription drugs are an important and a necessary component to pain management. However, misuse of these medications can lead to serious consequences, health problems, and even death.

Poisoning is the #1 cause of injury death in Utah. The majority of poisoning related deaths are from prescription drug overdoses. Commonly abused prescription medications include opioids for pain (such as oxycodone, hydrocodone, methadone, and morphine), CNS depressants (such as benzodiazepines for anxiety or sleep disorders) and stimulants (for conditions like ADHD and narcolepsy).

Data show:

  • An average of 23 Utahns die as a result of prescription opioids each month.
  • Prescription opioid deaths outnumbered motor vehicle crash deaths in 2007.
  • The number of prescription opioid deaths increased 4.2% from 2010
    to 2011 once funding for the Prescription Pain Medication Program was eliminated in 2010.
  • The number of opioid-related calls to the Utah Poison Control Center decreased 12.8% from 2007 to 2011.
  • The 2006-2010 Utah prescription opioid death rate is 14.3 per 100,000 adults. The prescription opioid death rate has significantly decreased from 2007 to 2010 (16.8 and 11.5 per 100,000 adults).
  • Utah ranks 8th highest for drug overdose deaths in the U.S.

In Utah, the top five circumstances observed in prescription opioid deaths were:

  • 71% substance abuse problem (Substance abuse problems include those in which the individual was noted as using illegal drugs, abusing prescription medications, or regularly using inhalants at the time of death.)
  • 60% physical health problem
  • 60% diagnosed mental illnes
  • 16% history of alcohol abuse
  • 12% intimate partner problem

Angie’s Story - On December 5, 2010, Angie's 13-year-old son, Connor Watson, died as a result of a prescription drug overdose. In this video, Utah Governor Gary Herbert and Connor's mom, Angie, warn about the consequences of prescription drugs.