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Opioid Abuse Increased During Pandemic, Local Health Expert Says

According to Gabriela Murza, who leads Utah State University Extension’s HEART Initiative in Utah County, increased opioid abuse has been a prominent trend throughout Utah during the COVID-19 pandemic.This information was presented to the Utah County Commission during a work session Wednesday. According to the Daily Herald, Murza told the commissioners the rate of opioid use disorder has been leveling off in recent years. But, the public health professor said when 2020 hit, “everywhere the numbers went up” and “they did increase as far as deaths due to opioids.”


National data usually takes longer to gather, but Murza expects to see “some really scary data for 2020.” Despite this, Murza said she is feeling good about the HEART Initiative’s work and she knows that “the work is definitely there” as they continue working to educate and prevent opioid use.

Tyler Hewitt is the web/social media assistant at UPR. He writes stories every day, updates the website and manages the station's Twitter and Facebook pages. Tyler is a senior at Utah State University and is studying public relations, marketing, and psychology. He loves to write, listen to music, play video games, play tennis and hang out with his fiancé and cat, Juno. He is a great plant dad and recently started collecting vinyl records!