Documentary on prescription drug abuse in Utah to be shown in Layton

Oct 9 2010 - 11:08pm

LAYTON -- A film depicting the growing problem of prescription drug abuse will be shown on the Davis campus of Weber State University.

"Happy Valley" will be shown at 6 p.m. Oct. 29.

"Utah currently leads the nation in prescription drug abuse," said Dr. E. Dean Flanders, a Davis County general surgeon.

"It's a common problem that affects many of us. As I went to my friends to solicit donations, almost everyone had a family member or knew of someone that has been involved in this.

"I have seen it ruin marriages and jobs and friends as well. There are organizations that can help."

Flanders became interested in bringing the film to Davis County after seeing it at a presentation by The Weber Coalition for a Healthy Community.

He said concerned residents have teamed up with the Weber Coalition for a Healthy Community and Davis Behavioral Health to show the documentary.

The purpose is twofold, Flanders said.

First, to bring about awareness, and second, to raise money to enable women who are addicted to drugs to attend drug rehabilitation programs.

Although admission to the movie is free, donations are being accepted and are tax deductible.

Sally Jones, facilitator of Weber Coalition for a Healthy Community, said a 2009 report paints a grim picture of the growing problem.

For instance, in 2009, the Top 5 drugs of choice were alcohol, methamphetamine, marijuana, heroin and prescription drugs.

In the past three years, Utah has seen a 68 percent increase in prescription drug abuse.

The report also states the public substance abuse system is at capacity but serving less than 20 percent of the current need.

In Davis County, 8,593 individuals needed treatment, but only 1,130 were served.

In Weber County, 7,342 people needed help, but only 1,369 were served.

Flanders said people should empty their homes of prescription drugs as soon as they are finished using them.

From July 2008 to July 2009, 545 pounds of prescription drugs were turned into the Layton police for disposal, he said.

"If you suspect someone is involved, talk to a physician or other health care provider and get them help," Flanders said.

"Finally, if you are aware of a physician who is involved in this, report them to the police. Unfortunately, physicians also sell these drugs."

The movie, rated PG-13, is a true story about prescription drug abuse in Utah County and the associated issues of denial, social pressure, guilt and conformity.

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