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The Four Person Plan 1

Scott Bawden, Aaron Chav, Quinn Dunford, Aaron Madsen


English 1010
8 December 2016
Pain "Killers"

Have you ever seen one of these orange pill bottles in your cabinet?
Someone like a child may believe they have candy inside of them however
they are far from that. You may think they are harmless. But if not taken
appropriately, these pills can take you to the deepest and darkest abyss of
life that you never thought you'd find yourself in.
Lets imagine that you fell off of a ladder and landed on your back, you
go to the hospital and are prescribed some pain medication, but the pain just
never seems to go away. Well, that same pain is happening to other people
from all over. Car accidents, broken bones, torn muscles, you name it! Pain is
universal and something most people dont want to deal with. So what can
you do when youre in such severe pain? You can take a simple Ibuprofen or
Advil, but most claim these over-the-counter drugs just dont quite do the

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trick. This leads them to taking risky alternatives such as prescription
opioids. Opioid abuse is spreading rapidly among Americans and especially
within Utah slowly destroying the lives of many. We need to find an effective
solution to put a stop to this epidemic that is taking with it so many of our
loved ones.
Lets talk about what an opioid actually is, and why theyre causing so
many problems here in the United States. Here in our own state of Utah, the
abuse is especially bad. Opioids are drugs that act on opioid receptors to
relieve pain. They are made from a naturally occurring liquid contained
within the unripe seed of the poppy flower (Opioid Pain Medications and
Frequently Asked Questions par.1), and can be prescribed to people who
have chronic pain, or pain of any kind. These medications are classified as
narcotics and can be dangerous when abused. When used properly, opioids
such as morphine have long been known to help the severe pain that follows
surgery and to alleviate the suffering of people with advanced cancer.
(Opioids and Chronic Pain par. 1).
In a Youtube video titled (The History of Opioids) by Health Triage, a
channel that focuses on healthcare hosted by Dr. Aaron Carroll who explains
healthcare policy and medical research. In the video, he states that opioids
now cause more deaths than any other drug. Americans consume 99% of the
worlds hydrocodone, 80% of the worlds oxycodone, and 66% of the worlds
hydromorphone. Lets take our state for an example, Utah alone was ranked
4th in the U.S. for drug poisoning deaths from 2012-2014 with 24 deaths

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each month in the state of Utah due to prescription drug overdoses
(Prescription Drug Overdoses, par. 1).
Prescription drug abuse has become a big issue in the Salt Lake City
metropolitan area. In this country the national average of people that abuse
prescription drugs is 5.4 percent of the population compared to the 6.4
percent in the Salt Lake City metropolitan area (Drug Abuse in Salt Lake City:
A Statistical Breakdown par. 4). This has to make you wonder what is
different about Salt Lake City compared to the rest of the country. Drug
abuse has risen by 400 percent in the past decade (par. 4). That's no big
deal, right? Wrong! This epidemic is bringing a whole lot of other problems
with it. Crime rates, sexual assault, HIV infections, child abuse and criminal
activity are some of the things that link back to this drug abuse (par. 1). An
example we found was an article on a man by the name of Mathew Kuepper,
who was suspected of 20 robberies and admitted drug addiction fueled his
spree. Kuepper told detectives he had been committing the robberies to
support his heroin and crack cocaine habit, according to a Salt Lake County
Jail report. "Mathew stated he would purchase the narcotics from the area of
210 Rio Grande after committing the robberies and then he was out of
money so he would rob further businesses.
At first, Kuepper was robbing businesses about once a day, Bell said. But
over the last week, police believe Kuepper was committing two or even three
robberies a day to support his increasing drug habit. Mathew stated the last
few weeks have been a 'blur' due his drug intoxication and coming down off

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the high.(Reavy par. 7). This shows how other people are getting involved in
these crimes just in order to feed into one persons drug addiction.
Now that you know what the problem is, lets discuss what the causes
are and why they are affecting so many individuals these days. Many of the
recorded deaths are those of people who became hooked on prescription
opioids are from sports, work injuries, or to cope with chronic conditions such
as back pain. Another contributing factor to this is instead of taking the
recommended prescribed amount, individuals are consuming more than they
should in order to feel the high effect of this drug. This causes them to
stray away from dependence and leads into full force addiction. Not only that
but there has also been a widespread use among Mormons, who some LDS
church members say fall back on opioid painkillers as a crutch to cope with
pressure to live a devout life (McGreal par. 6). Members of the LDS church
are one of the most largely afflicted demographic that abuse prescription
drugs today. They feel that since they have a write off from a doctor that
they can get away with their drug addiction (Ferguson). This could be
because of the types of standards that they are expected to live.
There are many people who are in need of certain prescription drugs
however due to financial situations or doctors denial they are forced to find
alternatives. Opioids are highly effective in treating pain but due to their high
cost, many people turn to heroin because of its potency and easy
accessibility. In an article titled, Prescription opioids and Heroin A study of

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young, urban, injection drug users interviewed in 2008 and 2009 found that
86 percent had used opioid pain relievers non medically prior to using heroin,
and their initiation into nonmedical use was characterized by three main
sources of opioids: family, friends, and personal prescriptions.
Another cause of prescription drug abuse is because of its easy
accessibility. Our group decided to interview Will Ferguson, a former
prescription drug addict; he told us about the ways that he would get his
prescription drugs. First, he would go around to different pharmacies and
fake prescriptions under family members names to get the drugs. He even
told us it was easy enough to go to the same pharmacy twice a day to pick
up the prescriptions. The pharmacy workers would ask questions about him
coming twice that day, but they wouldn't think anything of it. This example
just shows us how poorly pharmacies pay attention to their customers and
what is happening around them. People are able to go wherever they please
and fake multiple prescriptions with a low chance of ever getting caught. Will
told us he easily got away with it for 20 years. Thats just unbelievable! And
the scary thing is that he is not the only one getting away with it. Many
people are in the same situation that he was in and they are still getting
away with it right this second!

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Will Ferguson gives up basketball career for 20 year addiction to


opioids.

Delta Medical Center shared some great insight on the reason as to


why someone would get addicted to pain medications and the concern of the
easiness it is to get the drugs they are seeking. They said,
Everyone enjoys experiencing positive moods, especially
when they are somewhat exaggerated, so when individuals
seeking out such experiences come into contact with a
prescription medication that produces such effects, it is not
unusual for them to become addicted. In addition, the ease of
access contributes to the increase in this type of addiction.
Additionally, the frequency with which new drugs are becoming
available on the market has grown with better research and
technology, and physicians are prescribing more medications for

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medical problems than ever before. Commonly abused drugs
that have a high potential for leading to addiction include
narcotic painkillers, sedatives and tranquilizers, and stimulants
(Prescription Drug Abuse Side Effects, Addiction Signs &
Symptoms
par. 1).
Another cause of opioid addiction abuse is based on the environment
and people that surround a certain person. A young child that grows up in a
home with a mother who is an opioid addict, a dad who is a drug dealer and
a sister that is hooked on heroin is almost pre-destined to fall into the trap of
abusing drugs, and a high possibility of them being prescription drugs.
Prescription drug addiction has always been a problem, but there are
many different programs out there in order to help those who are addicted,
many are highly effective, and many are seldom helpful at all to certain
people. One of the solutions that is used today to help stop people from
abusing prescription drugs is NA and 12-step meetings. These meetings are
meant to help people make steps to becoming clean and free of any
addiction that is out there. We were curious to see if these types of meetings
and programs are actually effective to help prescription drug addicts to stop.
We decided to interview Will Ferguson, a former Utah Valley Community
College basketball player whose hoops dreams came to a crashing end after
a back injury playing college ball in Kansas which would eventually lead him
into a 20-year addiction to painkillers. He expressed to us that they work for

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many individuals but not for everyone. He mentioned that everyone is at
different stages of recovery. If one person that has been clean for a while and
then hangs around another person in the group that hasn't been clean and
they relapse, the person who has been clean increases their probability of
relapsing as well. (Ferguson).
Another attempt for a solution that others have tried is drug
monitoring. These programs are running throughout many states. Drug
monitoring is tracking what prescriptions people are taking and recording
any suspicious behavior (Sack par. 2). This is a pretty good idea but it has its
flaws also. This could prevent doctors from giving out prescriptions, because
they are fearful of losing their job and won't prescribe painkillers to those
that are in need of them (par. 2). If it were us and it threatened our job, we
would be fearful to give people prescriptions too. This has also been causing
people to move to harder drugs like heroin because of this (Ferguson).
There are many different solutions that people have tried to come up
with over the years with prescription pain killers. We know there isnt one
single solution out there. There are all kinds of people living in different
situations. As we mentioned earlier, NA meetings and 12 step programs can
most certainly help people with their drug addictions, but at the same time
these methods dont always work for everyone. This addiction issue is kept
quiet by most addicts and most individuals are either unwilling or unable to
speak about it. Will Ferguson, the former addict we interviewed, was an
addict for 20 years and remained silent about it the entire time. Now he is

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open about it and bringing more awareness to struggling victims and to the
community. He has been going to schools and sharing his story with kids,
telling them about the effects and the hardships it will bring to life. We
understand that those fighting drug addiction may have difficulties talking to
people about it, however because of this factor many are unable to receive
the help they need from others. In the Salt Lake Valley, the LDS church needs
to put more efforts into preventing and treating drug abuse (Ferguson).
Members of the church are scared to share their problems and use a hall
pass because they have that doctor's note saying they are fine, when in all
reality they are far from that. Will shared with us that he was in a church
meeting and discussed with the congregation that he had been facing this
problem. Because of this incident, many people came up telling him of all the
problems they had also been going through and even other people that they
knew. Just having one person speak about it broke the ice for many people to
start recognizing that they arent alone.
This addiction is a chronic brain disease (Sack par. 12). We need to
attack it at the source and help people mentally, instead of trying to take
away everything. When we take things away from someone, they find a
different way to get it. David Sack stated, Instead of criminalizing addiction,
encouraging doctors to stop providing care to people who may be addicted
to prescription drugs, and focusing the majority of our research and
resources on new formulations, vaccines and pills to defeat peoples
attempts to get high, we need to address the deeper issues at work in

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addiction (par. 13). The number of people abusing prescription opioids is
only going to increase if we do not find a way to bring about a desire within
the opiate abusers themselves to go and get help.
To help spread awareness we have created a video on opioids that will
be shared on multiple social media platforms in hopes that we can get some
of the general public to share it as well. This video will act as a short term
solution and drive more attention towards the problem. We hope that this
video will branch out and possibly get people to become more conscious of
this problem. Whether they are actively helping people who are addicted, or
warning people of the dangers of opioid abuse. We hope that this video will
reach those in need and help to create a larger incentive for people who
suspect a loved one, friend or even acquaintance to be more open and
sensitive when people reach out. As well as make those who fall victim to
drug addiction more willing to be open about their problem. To put it more
succinctly, we believe that if there is a larger sense of knowledge and
transparency within the general public, both addicts and non addicts alike
can speak with each other and help to create a lower number of closet
addicts, and addicts in general.
The long term solution that our group has made, is to focus our efforts
on bringing more awareness to this problem and informing those of this
prescription drug epidemic, and the serious risks associated with becoming
addicted. One program that has a similar goal to ours is the D.A.R.E program.

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They travel around many different schools specifically targeting the 5th and
6th grade.
We believe that this is one of the more effective programs that are
out there. However, according to many studies conducted by universities,
they have stated that teaching a child about this program gives them no
benefit of being drug free compared to students that haven't been taught
about this program (Lilienfeld par. 5). The D.A.R.E program tries to use scare
tactics which in most cases is not the most effective way of conveying a
message. Our idea of a long term solution in trying to prevent prescription
drug abuse, is by using a program similar to D.A.R.E., however we would be
taking a different approach. Our methods would use more one on one
conversation teaching style and educating students on a more personal
level. The problem with the D.A.R.E program, is they make drug abuse seem
more prevalent than it actually is (par 6). This program will spend a lot of
time and effort in helping the children understand the problems associated
with the use of prescription drugs.
Instead of making our own program for this issue we would try to
convince the D.A.R.E. program to revise their methods and have them
change to a more effective way in treating the problem. If they do not want
to change then we would have to go straight to the governor of Utah, or the
mayor of Salt Lake City and show them all the studies of how the D.A.R.E.
program does not work effectively and introduce our own program to them.
Our program would include training social workers that would work in schools

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teaching about this program for at least three years. The age of students we
would target would be 5th, 6th, and 7th graders because that is the time
they are about to transition into middle school where drug problems start to
occur (Drugs, Brains and Behavior: The Science of Addiction par. 2). This
program will help kids with making smart decisions when the offering of
drugs comes to them. The social workers teaching the programs will bring
real life situations that kids could face and they will role play with them
trying to help them make the correct decisions of not accepting a drug. In
the attempt with these techniques, we hope to drop the percentage of kids
abusing drugs in their future years. If we can train kids brains while they are
young they will be more likely to know that drugs are bad and hopefully that
will prevent them from using drugs.
There are thousands of people that are abusing prescription drugs, and
more specifically, opioids each day here in the U.S. It is an issue that is
thrown under the table and not talked about much at all. It is an enormous
problem that tons of Americans are experiencing and is causing families to
be destroyed, crime rates to go up, and valuable lives being lost. Most of us
have family members or friends that have suffered or who are currently
suffering from a prescription drug addiction. Suicide, overdoses, destruction
of family, loss of close relationships, etc. are all results of drug abuse. We ask
you to take a minute to think of someone you know who might be an addict.
We advise you to support and promote these short and long term solutions

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that we have created to help addicts everywhere to find their way out of the
despair of their addiction.

Works Cited
Carroll, Aaron. The History of Opioids. Youtube, uploaded by Health Care Triage, 2 May
2016, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4MIseokXcxY. Accessed 18 Nov. 2016.
Compton, Wilson. Christopher Jones. Grant Baldwin. Relationship between Nonmedical
Prescription-Opioid Use and Heroin Use. Nejm.org, The New England Journal of
Medicine. 14 Jan. 2016.
http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMra1508490#t=article. Accessed 22 Nov.
2016.

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Drug Abuse in Salt Lake City: A Statistical Breakdown. Journey Healing Centers, n.p. 22
April 2014. https://www.journeycenters.com/news/drug-abuse-salt-lake-city-statisticalbreakdown/. Accessed 21 Nov. 2016.
Drugs, Brains and Behavior: The Science of Addiction. Drigabuse.gov, National Institute on
Drug Abuse. July 2014. https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugs-brains-behaviorscience-addiction/preventing-drug-abuse-best-strategy. Accessed 7 Dec. 2016.
Ferguson, Will. Personal interview. 26 Nov. 2016.
Hedegaard, H. LH Chen. M Warner. Opioid Addiction 2016 Facts & Figures. American
Society of Addiction Medicine, n.p. 2015. http://www.asam.org/docs/defaultsource/advocacy/opioid-addiction-disease-facts-figures.pdf. Accessed 27 Nov. 2016
Lilienfeld, Scott. Hal Arkowitz. Why Just Say No Doesnt Work. Scientificamerican.com,
Scientific American. 1 Jan. 2014. https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/why-justsay-no-doesnt-work/. Accessed 6 Dec. 2016.
McGreal, Chris. 'It's Beyond Pain': How Mormons Are Left Vulnerable in Utah's Opiate Crisis.
Americas Addiction Epidemic, The Guardian. 26 May 2016.
https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/may/26/utah-mormons-prescriptionpainkiller-addiction. Accessed 22 Nov. 2016.
Noble, Mariah. Opioid and Heroin Addiction is Killing Utahns and Fueling Crime, Officials
Warn. Sltrib.com, John Huntsman Family. 28 Apr. 2016.
http://www.sltrib.com/news/3832107-155/opioid-and-heroin-addiction-is-killing.
Accessed 23 Nov. 2016.

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"Opioids and Chronic Pain." Melineplus.gov, NIH Medline Plus. Medline 2011
https://medlineplus.gov/magazine/issues/spring11/articles/spring11pg9.html. 21 Nov.
2016.
Opioid Pain Medications and Frequently Asked Questions. Health Canada, Nov. 2009.
http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/hl-vs/iyh-vsv/med/opioid-faq-opioides-eng.php. Accessed 28
Nov. 2016
Prescription Drug Abuse Side Effects, Addiction Signs & Symptoms. Delta Medical Center
Memphis, n.p. n.d. http://www.deltamedcenter.com/addiction/prescription-drugs/effectssymptoms-signs. Accessed 25 Nov. 2016.
Reavy, Pat. Man Suspected in 20 Robberies Says Drug Addiction Fueled His Spree, Police
Say. Deseretnews.com, Deseret News. 24 June 2016.
http://www.deseretnews.com/article/865656843/Man-suspected-in-20-robberies-saysdrug-addiction-fueled-his-spree-police-say.html?pg=all. Accessed 6 Dec. 2016.
Sack, David. 4 Failed Attempts to Crack Down on Prescription Drug Abuse (and Their
Unintended Consequences). Addiction Recovery, 9 June 2015.
http://blogs.psychcentral.com/addiction-recovery/2014/04/4-failed-attempts-to-crackdown-on-prescription-drug-abuse-and-their-unintended-consequences/. Accessed 28 Nov.
2016.
Skarnulis, Leanna. OxyContin: Pain Relief vs. Abuse. Web MD Magazine, n.p.
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Accessed 21 Nov. 2016.