Utah ranks 4th in overdose deaths

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC 4 UTAH) - It is an epidemic that has killed hundreds of Utahns each year and the number is only rising. Utah has one of the highest rates in the country when it comes to overdosing.

Last year one person died each day from drug overdoses. It is considered an accidental death. It kills more people than gun violence and is higher than traffic fatalities in the state.

Zach Baker watched as one of his own friends almost die after overdosing on heroin.

“It was really scary because she was completely blue not breathing on her own. Had the death rattle coming out of her,” said Baker. “I was, you know, yelling at people: 'What is going on here? What happened? Why is no one calling 911?' And they said, 'We may have warrants, we're not sure. We're just afraid ourselves.'"

On Governor Herbert's desk is a Good Samaritan law. As soon as he signs it, citizens won't have to worry if they have legal problems. Police won't ask your name but address the overdosed victim.

“The drug addict isn’t in control. So people around them see the signs,” said Rep. Carol Spackman Moss of District 37.

Being introduced this week is House Bill 119. It will allow a 3rd party to be able to give Naloxone or Narcan. It is a drug that blocks the drugs receptors of heroin, oxycontin, vicodin and methamphetamines to the brain.

“We want people to call 911 and immediately use Narcan. And it will reverse almost instantly the effect of an opiate because it blocks the receptors in the brain that opiates affect,” said Rep. Spackman Moss.

Naloxone and Narcan can be used as a Nasel spray or a shot. It is something that police will also get a chance to use.

“The states that have expanded accessibility have not seen an increase but in fact seen a decrease in drug use,” said Rep. Spackman Moss. “We are the fourth highest in the country for overdose deaths. That's very high.”

Law enforcement in the valley welcomes the Naloxone or Narcan. They believe they can save more lives with its use. Officers say as long as they get the proper training they have no problem administering it.

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