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In Midst of Overdose Epidemic, Utahns Urged to Rid Homes of Leftover Meds

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Utah health officials are urging people to take advantage of a prescription drug take-back event on Saturday. They say getting rid of old medications might help save a life.

Preliminary data from the Utah Department of Health shows that 344 people died last year from a prescription drug overdose. State injury epidemiologist Anna Fondario says Utah has seen an alarming increase in these deaths over the past five years.

“Utah ranks fifth highest in the nation for drug overdose deaths, so it’s really important to dispose of prescription pain medications properly and legally,” Fondario says. “These deaths can be prevented.”

A state survey shows that more than 68 percent of Utahns who used prescription pain medications in the past year kept what they had left over in their homes. And more than 74 percent of Uthans who used these types of medications without a prescription got them from a family member or friend.

On Saturday, drug take-back events manned by law enforcement will be held across the state from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Collection sites can be found by going to www.dea.gov.

For permanent collection sites, visit www.useonlyasdirected.org.

Andrea Smardon is new at KUER, but she has worked in public broadcasting for more than a decade. Most recently, she worked as a reporter and news announcer for WGBH radio. While in Boston, she produced stories for Morning Edition, Marketplace Money, and The World. Her print work was published in The Boston Globe and Boston.com. Prior to that, she worked at Seattleââ
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