Utah Statistics

Every week in Utah, nine people die as a result of a drug poisoning; six of which are a direct result of overdosing on prescription opioids. (1)

Every month in Utah, 24 individuals die from prescription opioid overdoses. (1)

  • In 2014, 32% of Utah adults aged 18 years and older had been prescribed an opioid pain medication in the last 12 months. (2)
  • From 2000 to 2014, Utah has experienced a 398% increase in deaths associated with the misuse and abuse of prescription drugs, making prescription drug overdose one of the leading cause of injury deaths in Utah. (1, 3)
  • Since 2010, deaths from prescription opioid overdoses have increased 26.7%; calls to the Utah Poison Control Center decreased 45% during the same time period. (1)
  • From 2012 to 2014, Utah ranks 4th highest for drug overdose deaths in the U.S. (4)
  • Over the last decade, prescription pain medications have been responsible for more drug deaths in Utah than all other drugs combined.(1,3)
  • In 2014, 59% of all prescription pain medication deaths in Utah involved oxycodone, however the risk of death is significantly higher when methadone is involved.(1)
  • In 2015, 2.9% of students in grades 8, 10, and 12 reported that they had used prescription drugs in the past 30 days, not prescribed to them by a doctor. (5)
  • In 2015, 10th and 12th grade students were significantly more likely than 8th grade students (3.0%, 3.4%, and 1.5%, respectively) to report using prescription drugs not prescribed to them within the past 30 days. (5)
  • Among local health districts, Tri-county had a significant increase in students reporting prescription drug misuse from 2013 to 2015.  Southeast students reported the highest rate of prescription drug misuse (3.6%), followed by Weber-Morgan (3.5%). (5)
  • Southeast Local Health District has a significantly higher prescription opioid death rate compared to the state.  Utah Small Areas that have higher prescription opioid death rates compared to state include Carbon/Emery Counties, Ogden (Downtown), and Taylorsville (East) / Murray (West). (1)

In Utah, the top five circumstances observed in prescription opioid deaths were (1):

  • 65% 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.)
  • 62% diagnosed mental illness
  • 61% physical health problem
  • 16% history of alcohol dependence or problem
  • 10% history of suicide attempt


  1. Utah Department of Health Violence and Injury Prevention Program, Utah Violent Death Reporting System.
  2. Utah Department of Health Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System.
  3. Utah Department of Health Violence and Injury Prevention Program Prescription Pain Medication Program Database.
  4. National Center for Healthcare Statistics.
  5. Utah Department of Health Violence Bureau of Health Promotion Prevention Needs Assessment Data.


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