House passed bill to study opioid overdoses

FILE - This Tuesday, Feb. 19, 2013 file photo shows pills of the painkiller hydrocodone at a pharmacy in Montpelier, Vt. Accidental overdoses aren't the only deadly risk from using powerful prescription painkillers _ the drugs may also contribute to heart-related deaths and other fatalities, according to research published Tuesday, June 14, 2016. "As bad as people think the problem of opioid use is, it's probably worse," said Wayne Ray, the lead author and a health policy professor at Vanderbilt University's medical school. (AP Photo/Toby Talbot)

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — The Utah House has passed a proposal to create a committee to review drug overdose deaths.

The Deseret News reports that the measure would also create an opioid fatality examiner position and enhance state databases to help study the nationwide opioid crisis in Utah.

Republican sponsor Rep. Steve Eliason says opioid drug deaths dipped slightly last year to about 360, but the numbers are still far too high.

He says the data from the Opioid and Overdose Fatality Review Committee could save more lives.

The measure would cost about $145,000 in one-time money and $675,000 in ongoing funds.

It now goes to the Senate.

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