Use Only As Directed: a Fox 13 News special report on the opioid crisis

For many years, doctors and dentists have prescribed opioids like hydrocodone, oxycodone, morphine and fentanyl to help people manage pain following injuries, operations and procedures.

They are strong and highly addictive. Some people say they were hooked in a matter of days, prompting them to keep going back to medical professionals for more, while others turned to street-level drugs.

The resulting opioid epidemic has affected people from all walks of life. Nationwide, more than 130 people die from opioid overdoses every day. And Utah has been one of the hardest-hit states — at times, ranking as high as number seven in deaths per capita.

In this special report, Fox 13 welcomed several guests to the studio Friday night to help spread the word on the dangers of opioid abuse and bring hope to those struggling with addiction.

Susannah Burt of the Utah Division of Substance Abuse and Mental Health talked about just how severe the opioid crisis is in Utah.

Lisa Nichols, the community health assistant vice president for Intermountain Healthcare, talked about what you should be discussing with your doctor when it comes to treating your pain and what alternatives are out there.

Kristin Joseph, whose husband Donald was shot killed by police after he broke into a medical clinic in Roy to steal prescription drugs, has bravely come forward to share his story of addiction.

Destiny Garcia, a former addict, talked to us about her road to recovery and what she wishes she had known before she began taking pain medications.

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