Did you know that unintentional prescription medication overdoses killed more Utahns than automobile accidents? It is also one of the leading causes of death for 25–54 year olds. The majority of these deaths could have been prevented if people would use medications exactly as they are prescribed.
Recent statistics show that more that one-third of Utahns regularly received a prescription pain medication. Many of these people keep their leftover medication, which can be a risk for misuse, abuse and unintended poisoning. Since 2000, the number of deaths due to overdose of prescription pain medication has increased over 400%. In recent years, prescription drugs passed cocaine as the fourth highest drug of choice in Utah.
The Utah Division of Substance Abuse encourages responsible prescription use by:
- not taking larger doses of pills than recommended
- only taking medications prescribed to you
- never mixing painkillers with alcohol or other drugs
- carefully storing medications away from friends and family
- disposing of medications when no longer needed
The proper use, storage, and disposal of prescription pain medications can do much to correct this problem. For the safety of your family, neighbors, friends, and environment, please use, store and dispose of your prescription pain medications responsibility.
TEXTING WHILE DRIVING
Text messaging while driving is dangerous and life threatening to us all. Statistics show that texting while driving can cause drivers to black out for five seconds at a time and is the equivalent of driving after drinking four beers. Taking your eyes off the road to text while driving at 55 mph is like driving the length of a football field blindfolded.
Distracted driving injures 330,000 people every year and car crashes kill an average of 11 teens every day. It’s against Utah law to send text messages or email while operating a motor vehicle. If a texting related accident results in a death, the law makes it a felony criminal homicide. This is a very critical issue and something we all need to take very seriously.
Texting and driving can ruin lives everyday. Make a commitment to not text while driving and encourage your family and friends to do the same.
Coronary heart disease is the No. 1 cause of death in the United States. That’s why it’s so important to reduce your risk factors, know the warning signs, and know how to respond quickly and properly if warning signs occur. Some heart attacks are sudden and intense, but most heart attacks start slowly, with mild pain or discomfort. Here are signs that can mean a heart attack is happening:
- Chest discomfort. Most heart attacks involve discomfort in the center of the chest that lasts more than a few minutes, or that goes away and comes back. It can feel like uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain.
- Discomfort in the upper body. Symptoms can include pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach.
- Shortness of breath with or without chest discomfort.
- Other signs may include breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea or lightheadedness
Heart attack and stroke are life-and-death emergencies — every second counts. If you see or have any of the listed symptoms, immediately call 9-1-1. Be aware that not all these signs occur in every heart attack or stroke.
Heart attack and stroke victims can benefit from new medications. For example, clot-busting drugs can stop some heart attacks and strokes in progress, reducing disability and saving lives. But to be effective, these drugs must be given relatively quickly after heart attack or stroke symptoms first appear. So again, don’t delay — get help right away!
Alcohol-impaired driving is the most frequently committed violent crime in the United States. Gold Cross responds to far too many alcohol related vehicle accidents. Here are some startling statistics about impaired driving.
- Alcohol-impaired driving is the most frequently committed violent crime in the U.S.
- On average, a drunk driver kills someone every 40 minutes.
- Each year, approximately half a million people are injured in alcohol related crashes with an average of one person injured approximately every minute.
- Research shows that alcohol-related crashes cost the public an estimated $114.3 billion annually.
- One arrest is made for driving under the influence for every 772 episodes of driving within two hours of drinking and for every 88 episodes of driving over the illegal limit in the U.S.
The facts on impaired driving are very sobering. Remember to always designate a driver if you have had even a drop of alcohol or are using a prescription drug that causes drowsiness.
SEAT BELT USEAGE
According to the Utah Department of Public Safety nearly 300,000 Utah motorists still fail to regularly wear their seat belts when driving or riding in a motor vehicle.
Research has shown that many people who continue to ride unprotected are risk takers, young, male, nighttime motorists, or are child passengers in vehicles driven by an unbuckled adult. Nighttime driving is much more dangerous than daytime driving. In Utah, people in crashes during the hours of 10:00 p.m. to 4:00 a.m. were 2.4 times less likely to wear a seat belt than people in crashes during the rest of the day.
People who don’t buckle up are less likely to require their children to buckle up. A study conducted by the National Safety Council found that child passengers of adults who were unbuckled were also unbuckled in 75% of the cases. State law requires everyone in a vehicle to be secured by a seat belt. Children up to age 8 must
be properly restrained in a child car seat or booster seat.
Gold Cross encourages you to wear your seat belt at all times.