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Utah Inpatient Drug Rehab and Addiction

While the state’s overall drug usage is half the national average, Utah has some of the highest numbers of drug-related deaths in the U.S. More people per year die from drug overdoses in Utah than people who die from car accidents or firearms.

Utah Addiction Treatment

Utah has some of the highest rates of drug-related deaths in the nation. In 2007, the state’s number of deaths related to drug use nearly doubled the national average.

The number of drug-related deaths in Utah (20.6 deaths per 100,000 population) was nearly double the U.S. average (12.7 per 100,000) in 2007.

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Methamphetamine is the biggest drug threat to Utah residents. It also makes up the majority of primary rehab admissions within the state. Other drugs commonly cited in treatment admissions for Utah include:

  1. Marijuana
  2. Heroin
  3. Prescription drugs, like opiate painkillers
  4. Cocaine

Although the number of methamphetamine labs in Utah has dropped since the early 2000s, drug trafficking operations have dramatically increased. Most of the state’s methamphetamine comes from Mexico and the southwestern states, as well as from Canada and northwestern states like Washington and Montana. It’s typically transported through Utah in private vehicles traveling on I-15, I-80 and I-70, but commercial buses, trucks and airplanes are also used.

Prescription drug abuse, like painkillers, is also a major issue for Utah residents. In the past decade, the state has seen a 400 percent increase in prescription drug-related deaths. Because over 60 percent of Utah’s population are members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, many people with a prescription drug addiction are Mormon. Drug use is strictly prohibited in the Latter-Day Saint community, however, many addictions begin by taking prescription drugs to treat a medical condition. Since they were prescribed by a doctor, many believe they’re okay to take. Over time, the person may develop a spiraling addiction that leads to seeking out street drugs, like heroin, to continue feeling the euphoric “high” they crave. In many cases, people who became addicted to prescription drugs need them just to feel normal.

An addiction has the power to bring your goals and aspirations to a screeching halt. But when you turn toward treatment, you can reach recovery. Get the help you deserve by calling us now.

Laws of Utah Drug Abuse

Penalties for the possession of drugs in Utah vary according to the type of substance involved. Utah classifies its drugs into five schedules based on the likelihood of addiction and perceived dangerousness. Schedule I substances are considered most addictive, while schedule V drugs have the lowest risk of addiction.

While drug penalties in Utah are tough, state officials are advocating treatment-based approaches in lieu of jail time. In October 2015, Utah passed a law to decriminalize first-time and second-time schedule I and schedule II drug possession offenses. Charges for these offenses were reduced from third-degree felonies to class A misdemeanors. The law also decreases the size of drug-free zones where violators would normally receive increased charges. With these changes to the previous laws, Utah hopes to see a decrease in repeat drug-related offenses and an increase in people getting treatment.  

Classification of SubstanceNumber of OffensesChargeMaximum Penalty
Schedules I – IIFirst offenseClass A misdemeanor$2,500 fine and/or up to one year in jail
Second offenseClass A misdemeanor$2,500 fine and/or up to one year in jail
Third and subsequent offensesThird-degree felony$2,500 fine and/or up to 18 months in jail
Schedules III – VFirst offenseClass B misdemeanor$1,000 fine and/or up to one year in jail
Second offenseClass A misdemeanor$2,500 fine and/or up to one year in jail
Third and subsequent offensesThird-degree felony$2,500 fine and/or up to 18 months in jail

Marijuana Laws in Utah

It’s illegal for anyone to possess or sell marijuana for recreational use in Utah. Possession of up to one pound of marijuana is considered a misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year of jail time and a fine of $2,500. If a person is caught with any number up to 100 pounds, they can be charged with a felony and face up to five years in prison and a $5,000 fine.

Even if a person possesses less than one ounce of marijuana in Utah, they can be charged with a misdemeanor, sentenced to a maximum of six months in prison and a face a $1,000 fine.

Medical marijuana is also illegal in Utah. However, as of March 2016, two bills are pending before Utah legislature regarding its legalization. If the two bills progress, Utah residents will have the chance to vote on medical marijuana access in 2018.

Addiction Treatment Laws in Utah

Utah’s Substance Abuse and Mental Health Department reported that out of the nearly 135,000 residents who needed help for an addiction in 2015, only 10 percent received treatment. As a response to this statistic, the state is working to create better treatment access for those in need of addiction help. Utah is also strengthening the harm reduction, awareness and prevention programs that have already been put into place.

Utah Harm Reduction Laws

Harm reduction laws are public health policies and educational initiatives aimed at reducing the harms associated with drug use. Examples of these include clean syringe exchange programs, HIV testing centers, and drug replacement and maintenance therapy centers.

In 2014, Utah passed the Overdose Good Samaritan law to expand emergency medical care to addiction sufferers by providing legal protection for anyone who calls 911 for a drug overdose. This law applies to victims of overdoses as well as witnesses. In the same year, Utah passed a separate law known as the Emergency Administration of Opiate Antagonist Act, which provides greater access to the life-saving medication naloxone. Naloxone, also known as Narcan, is an opioid antagonist medication used to counter the effects of heroin, morphine or other opioid-related overdoses.

The law expands access to naloxone in several ways:

  • Permitting medical professionals to prescribe and dispense naloxone to family members, friends or other loved ones of an individual at risk of opioid overdose
  • Allowing people to administer naloxone to someone experiencing an overdose, after completing a training program on proper administration
  • Providing legal immunity to people who administer, or are administered, naloxone in the event of an overdose, under the previously passed Overdose Good Samaritan law

Utah Drug Courts

Drug courts in Utah were established in 1996 as part of an ongoing effort to fight the rising number of drug-related crimes in the state’s communities. Drug courts offer drug treatment and recovery programs to nonviolent drug offenders as an alternative to traditional incarceration.

Drug violators who qualify for Utah drug court must submit a guilty plea for their charges. The plea is put on hold while the offender is in drug court. If the person successfully completes the program, the guilty plea is withdrawn and the charges are dropped. However, if the person doesn’t complete treatment, they will go to jail.

Studies show that getting treatment in lieu of jail time results in significantly lower drug-related crime and violence.

Since the first Utah drug court was put into place in Salt Lake, the statewide program has seen hundreds of successful graduates.

Rocky Mountain High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Program

The Rocky Mountain High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) Program is part of a federal initiative administered by the White House to combat drug trafficking nationwide. The Rocky Mountain HIDTA operates out of Colorado and encompasses 34 counties in four states, including Utah.

The regional program works to provide in-depth intelligence, case support and analysis of drug trafficking investigations for each of the four states in the Rocky Mountain area. Through funding, specialized training for law enforcement and state-of-the-art monitoring equipment, Utah has witnessed a steady increase in the dismantling of drug trafficking organizations.  

Utah Addiction Recovery Management Program

Many people have received treatment for an addiction but may have trouble managing their ongoing recovery due to lack of social support or trouble finding a job.

Created by Utah Support Advocates for Recovery Awareness (USARA), the Addiction Recovery Management (ARM) program provides recovery planning and management for people overcoming a substance addiction in Utah.

The Addiction Recovery Management program provides ongoing recovery assistance to Utah residents who have completed a treatment program, but still face other hardships.

The program helps people by assisting them with finding support groups in their community, teaching skills like finance management and connecting them with employment opportunities. They also provide financial assistance for certain recovery services based upon need.

In order to be eligible for financial assistance for a recovery program through ARM, a person:

  • Must be a Utah resident with a history of drug and/or alcohol addiction. They must provide verification that they’ve received treatment in the past.
  • Must provide verification of their income, which must be 200 percent below the Federal Poverty Level
  • Must have a dependent child under age 18 living in the home
  • Must be willing to commit six months to the ARM program

The goals of ARM are to reduce the barriers that impact a person coming out of treatment — like finding a job — as well as strengthen family relationships through counseling and therapy.

Treatment Centers in Utah

Treatment for addiction in Utah is provided on a public and private level. Each of Utah’s 29 counties is equipped to help Utahns find the treatment they need.

Utah’s Substance Abuse and Mental Health division require each person to undergo screenings and assessments prior to receiving treatment. All local treatment providers conduct their own screenings, so incoming patients can expect this with whichever treatment center they choose.

Utah’s compassionate approach to treatment consists of the following best practices, including:

  • Individualized treatment
  • Use of evidence-based practices that meet the client’s needs
  • Gender-specific treatment plans
  • Trauma-informed services
  • Treatment provider trustworthiness
  • Patient and provider collaboration
  • Empowerment through treatment
  • Ongoing clinical supervision
  • Medication-assisted recovery

When reviewing your treatment options, it may seem to make sense to pick a provider based on how close it is to home. However, research has shown that traveling for rehab comes with numerous benefits that may lead to a more successful recovery.

Choosing to travel for rehab gives you the chance to start fresh in a new environment. By leaving behind the temptations and triggers that once caused your addiction, you’re able to focus entirely on your recovery.

Traveling to a place you’ve never been for rehab allows you to take advantage of all the terrain has to offer. You could even take in the beautiful scenery of a mountain range or an ocean view while you recover.

It’s time to stop living your life on the terms of your addiction. Contact our treatment specialists now to finally get the help you or your loved one needs.

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