Overdosing on opioids has killed many people in Utah, but thanks to groups like Utah Naloxone and One Voice Recovery, the tide is finally changing for the better. To talk about a major milestone Jennifer Plumb, medical director for Utah Naloxone, and Patrick Rezac, executive director for One Voice Recovery, joined Good Morning Utah.
Included below is some of the information they discussed:
More than 3,000 people in Utah have a second chance at life thanks to the efforts of Utah Naloxone. All of these individuals were given the medication naloxone (Narcan) during an opioid overdose by a non-medical layperson around them. Naloxone reverses an opioid overdose if given in time, causing the effects of the opioid to reverse and bringing them back.
Opioids include pain pills, heroin and fentanyl. All of these life-saving doses were administered by non-medical members of our community who obtained rescue kits from Utah Naloxone or one of its Overdose Outreach Provider partners just for this purpose. The recent reports bringing us to this milestone came from our partners at One Voice Recovery (OVR) who work across the state of Utah to educate on substance use disorder, work to decrease stigma, as well as to reduce infectious disease transmission and overdose deaths. These direct community partners are a major contributor to saving lives across Utah.
The number of lives saved by naloxone has been attributed as a large part of why Utah is seeing a decline in the number of opioid deaths. We were one of only seven states in 2017 where the death rate is going down. And as the number of people who are surviving an opioid overdose and making
to an emergency room for care is rising – almost doubling from 2015 to 2017 (1.5/10,000 in 2015 to
2.8/10,000 in 2017). People are saving lives and giving people a chance to survive to make it to an
ER which alters outcomes for our state.
There is still work to be done. Overdose is still the leading cause of injury death in the state, and Utah still is among states with a high rate of overdose deaths. If you or someone you know is taking opioids you should have Naloxone on hand in case of an overdose. Naloxone kits are available through Utah Naloxone. It is legal to possess the drug, and legal to administer it if you suspect someone is overdosing on opioids.
For more information go to UtahNaloxone.org