The Park City story: One boy died, then another — and the opioid epidemic came into full view

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  • delasalle Sandy, UT
    Aug. 15, 2017 10:36 a.m.

    @no one of consequence. In general that may be the case but the difference with the opioid crisis (and I know this article is not exactly focused on the traditional issues with opioids) is many, in fact a large percentage, become addicted not through personal choice but because of doctors' over-prescription for pain.

    Athletes (read about Taysom Hill's brother), laborers, and really anyone with temporary chronic pain are prescribed these drugs that for many the body cannot manage and become quickly addicted. It's far more than just personal choice that is at play here. Opioids for some overcome very powerfully the body's ability to resist to the point where the only way to treat is to continue the drugs (look up methadone clinics).

    Again, generally I'm in agreement with you but with opioids it's irresponsible to place blame entirely with the user.

  • Colombia, 00
    July 24, 2017 9:31 a.m.

    I'm glad that they've put a lot of programs in place that definitely can make a difference. I think it is a very good thing that should be implemented elsewhere. But I worry about funding here. This program works in
    Iceland where the per capita GDP is US$59,976, and,
    Park city, where the GDP is $45,164.
    But is it feasible to implement such a program in West Jordan, for example, where the GDP is $17,221 and the number of millionaires who are interested in preventing drug use is much lower? Who picks up the slack in communities that may not have the financial resources to support robust drug prevention programs? It's something I'm sure taxpayers would be willing to pay for, but how do you decide who gets how much?

  • qq15 Centerville, UT
    July 24, 2017 8:11 a.m.

    "In Emery and Carbon counties, the stark reality of the crisis spilled into public view: bodies, stiff and cold, were dropped off in front of the hospital, or in the desert, because addicts were afraid to call when a friend or brother or wife overdosed because of all the paraphernalia lying around."

    Bodies in the streets, and yet the Senate wants to cut $800 billion out of Medicaid funding including opioid treatment? What planet are they living on?

  • Nuschler121 Villa Rica, GA
    July 21, 2017 1:12 p.m.

    I lived in Utah for 20 years; received my undergrad and postgrad degrees there. I loved my friends and the community.

    Comments here want to BLAME people--one went so far as to BLAME people who voted for “Hillary and Misty.”

    No. Our country is awash in prescription drugs. You see me as an MD and you want drugs--antibiotics for the flu--useless. Pills for sleep, allergies, acid reflux, constipation, anti-anxiety--then you have herbal supplements for everything--Utah leads the country in herbals. They are ALL chemicals. St. John’s wort is “organic” so OK-right? NO!

    Then we have legal alcohol and tobacco. A lot of boys/men use chew or snus (Skoal, Copenhagen, Red Man etc). Ok to have a martini but these drugs are wrong?

    Look at your med cabinet-acetaminophen, aspirin, ibuprofen, mucinex, leftover antibiotics, pain meds. Our country is ADDICTED. And herbal supplements are worse b/c people think that they aren’t drugs-oh they are!

    Look at yourself--we spend billions on makeup! Why? Get ALL drugs out of your life! I have watched former prescription drugs now over the counter.

    When adults get rid of all alcohol, tobacco, and drugs? Our children won’t see drugs as a solution!

  • Rocket Science Brigham City, UT
    July 20, 2017 7:24 p.m.

    Medford, thank you, I see more of the patern

    The principal: ". . . the stud in her nose — they were all little ways to signal to students that it was OK to be different."

    Some parents: "Some of their parents smoked pot. Access was easy."

    Kids: "A lot of the kids traveled as part of elite ski teams, often to states where marijuana was legal, like Colorado."

    The 13 year old: ". . . liked to go big . . ."

    Sometimes as adults we try too hard to be liked by kids. Perhaps there ought to be a greater effort to give more of an example of dignity and formality that kids will eventually want to emulate. Adults need to set a proper example of responsible activity.

  • No One Of Consequence West Jordan, UT
    July 20, 2017 3:08 p.m.

    Calling this an epidemic removes the element of personal responsibility. The drugs don't sneak into your house in the dark of night and get into your body on their own. People make choices and choices have consequences. People have been disbelieving warnings about mood-altering chemicals and their effects for millennia. All we can do is keep up the warnings and hope most will listen and learn.

  • mmtc PARK CITY, UT
    July 20, 2017 2:48 p.m.

    @third try - The author relates the story of two young teenagers in Park City in part to illustrate that no community is immune from the effects of drugs. The problem with opiate abuse is just as bad in Utah County which is very conservative. What is your excuse for this? This epidemic has nothing to do with being conservative, liberal, rich, poor, educated, uneducated, religious or not.

  • Cav Pilot St George, UT
    July 20, 2017 2:14 p.m.

    centrist -
    it is called the "dark web" and the specialized browsers are easy to download through Google chrome, IE, Safari, et al. pretty much something any 3rd grader today can do. sophisticated programming and encryption, yes. those that operate in that environment cover their tracks, they are not too worried about yours.

  • Colombia, 00
    July 20, 2017 1:44 p.m.

    @aceroinox illegal online drug dealing marketplaces are accesed through something called the deep web, which is accessed through specialized internet browsers that mask identity and location in ways impossible for consumer-style browsers like Chrome or Safari. The kind of transactions that take place here are not done through credit cards, but rather through a kind of anonymous virtual currency called bitcoins. These are really sophisticated encryptions systems that can now be performed by an average smartphone. Dealers don't need complex systems to run extremely profitable operations.
    Additionally, Chinese authorities sometimes give legal shelter to illegal operations located in China. Although opposed to drug use, they don't like other countries stepping on what they view as their own turf, which can sometimes make it difficult for drug enforcement to actually find and bust the factories in China.

  • Third try screen name Mapleton, UT
    July 20, 2017 1:35 p.m.

    Kids with drug problems in a rich town. And this is news?

    The faces change and the drug of choice changes, but liberal parents with too much money always tend to attract dopeheads.

    Somehow we are supposed to have antidote kits in the library now and all sorts of special programs to help the little darlings.

    No wonder they voted for Hillary and Misty; they want someone else to raise their kids.

    Not on my dime.

  • zaner21 South Jordan, UT
    July 20, 2017 12:50 p.m.

    @aceroinox I read a story about the drug dealer they busted in Cottonwood Heights. In that story they mentioned that they use Bitcoins as payment. No credit cards for the actual drug transactions. Tracing Bitcoins would be like tracing cash, nearly impossible.

  • medford Ogden, UT
    July 20, 2017 12:29 p.m.

    Here are some quotes from the article. Spot the pattern?

    "Kids in the counseling office at Treasure Mountain struggled with all sorts of different challenges, but there were some underlying similarities. They felt alone, adrift, devoid of meaning or purpose. They spent much of their time playing video games or interacting with their friends, not in person but over social media, ..."

    "Park City is a place with a lot of absentee parents, he’d noticed, and perhaps that was a factor. Maybe your dad was a pilot and was often gone, or maybe your parents liked to travel and left you in the care of a nanny."

    "A lot of the kids traveled as part of elite ski teams, often to states where marijuana was legal, like Colorado. Some of their parents smoked pot. Access was easy."

    "The program, in some ways, is similar to one of the most ambitious drug prevention efforts ever launched...which put an emphasis on parents spending more time with their kids, getting teens involved in extracurricular activities (especially sports) three to four times a week, and helping kids feel important at school."

  • Cav Pilot St George, UT
    July 20, 2017 11:41 a.m.

    All this time I thought an epedemic was reference to a disease, a living organism that invades another organism and causes illness, not a lapse in judgement that results in a persons inability to further control their own actions.
    So what is the new word for widespread flu, plague, etc?

  • Red Salt Lake City, UT
    July 20, 2017 11:17 a.m.

    I think overly blaming the kid who bought the drug for the other kids deaths is not the right thing. If your kid wants to do drugs then that is a sign of other problems.

    Take the responsibility on yourself instead of blaming anyone else. Also, the kids are the ones at fault. They are smart enough to avoid this nonsense. Blaming is not the best solution.

    It is simple. You either choose to wreck your life or you stand up and go to work on your dreams like the rest of us. That includes overcoming set backs and disappointments and working harder and more creatively etc. It's called life.

    And LIFE is Awesome!

  • Give me liberty Phoenix, AZ
    July 20, 2017 8:18 a.m.

    What a tragic story.

    If this problem is thrown onto the school system as yet another community failing for the education system to solve, it will flounder. A parent's example of taking recreational drugs is ok (i.e., marijuana) will swamp any message or teaching the school tries to send.

  • stevo123 Driggs, ID
    July 20, 2017 6:49 a.m.

    A truly well researched and written article. It has to be hard to be a parent today.

  • aceroinox Farmington, UT
    July 20, 2017 1:51 a.m.

    Forgive my ignorance, but it would seem the Chinese drug vendor could be tracked down via the Internet credit card transaction. If the money could find its way to the vendor, surely they can be identified. What they are doing is much more deadly than Russian roulette. If we can hold each vendor accountable for the results of their trafficking, it may have a deterrent effect at the source. Can someone educate me?