The Campaign


Use Only as Directed is a media and education campaign funded by the Utah Commission on Criminal and Juvenile Justice and a federal grant awarded to the Utah Division of Substance Abuse and Mental Health. The campaign is designed to prevent and reduce the misuse and abuse of prescription pain medications in Utah by providing information and strategies regarding safe use, safe storage, and safe disposal of these potentially dangerous drugs.


State CapitolIn 2006, the Utah Division of Substance Abuse and Mental Health was awarded a five-year, federal grant.  Following a comprehensive data analysis and creation of an epidemiological profile of the substance abuse issues in the state, funding was distributed to Utah’s 13 Local Substance Abuse Authority (LSAA) agencies to develop strategies to address two primary goals, one of which was the prevention of prescription drug abuse.

In 2007, the Utah State Legislature passed House Bill 137, appropriating two years of funding to the Utah Department of Health (UDOH) to establish a program to reduce deaths and other harm from prescription opiates. The Prescription Pain Medication Management and Education Program was created and led by the Department of Health in collaboration with Utah’s Attorney General, Labor Commission, and Division of Occupational and Professional Licensing (DOPL). The resulting campaign was titled “Use Only as Directed.”  The objective of the program was to reduce the number of unintentional prescription pain medication overdose deaths.

In January 2009, the Utah Pharmaceutical Drug Crime Project (UPDCP) was convened to address the growing problem of prescription drug abuse in Utah.  A public-private, multidisciplinary partnership, UPDCP involves over 20 local, state and federal experts in the fields of substance abuse prevention and treatment, law enforcement, environmental quality, medicine, human services, the judiciary and public health, as well as legislators and prosecutors.  UPDCP established an Executive Committee and an Advisory Committee with subcommittees in the areas of Law Enforcement, and Public Awareness and Training.  With its broad focus and membership, UPDCP was able to effectively bring together the efforts of the Utah Pharmaceutical Drug Crime Law Enforcement Task Force with those implementing the Utah Behavioral Healthcare Committee’s Prevention Network and the Use Only as Directed campaign.  

UPDCP set the following goals with regard to prescription drugs in Utah:

  • Reduce availability for abuse,
  • Increase the perception of risk to include the physical and psychological harmful effects as well as legal sanctions, and
  • Change the public’s attitude toward being less tolerant of the non-medical use of pharmaceutical drugs.  

In 2010, at the recommendation of the UPDCP Public Awareness and Training Subcommittee, the Salt Lake City Police Department, UPDCP’s lead fiscal agency, applied for and was awarded a grant from the Utah Commission on Criminal and Juvenile Justice (CCJJ) to create and conduct a public awareness campaign to educate Utahns about the safe use, storage and disposal of prescription pain medications.  Federal funding that had been designated for a media campaign by the Local Substance Abuse Authority agencies was added to the grant to enhance and expand the scope and reach of the new Use Only as Directed campaign.