SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 News) – Utah reached a remarkable milestone on Wednesday. Utah Naloxone Medical Director Dr. Jennifer Plumb tells ABC4 News, naloxone saved more than 4,000 Utahns from overdosing on opioids, including pain pills, heroin, and fentanyl.

“Going through and tallying the reports of reported lives saved by individuals in our community, not EMS members, not doctors, not healthcare providers, we have recently discovered we have passed 4,000 reports of community members who have and saved the life of someone around them. It is really, really amazing to be at that point,” said Dr. Plumb. “In this realm, in the naloxone world, first responder means first person there, and that sometimes is a mom, sometimes a best friend, sometimes a stranger, sometimes law enforcement, that is sometimes is anyone [who] can be a first responder in this realm.”

The doctor says there are countless stories of people living there dreams because they were saved by a naloxone kit.

“Whatever that may be, they were empowered to do that because someone stepped in,” she added. “For today, the knowledge that Utah went from fourth in the nation for opioid overdose death to now 22nd in the nation, that is something isn’t it.”

For more than five years, Utah Naloxone has provided education and naloxone kits to those who needed or wanted it.

“For me it is hard to put in words because as someone who has lost someone I really care about, I lost my brother to a heroin overdose years ago, 1996,” said Dr. Plumb. “Knowing that there are perhaps 4,000 families that did not and do not have to go through what we went through, it really defies words. It’s really something.”

That’s why the doctor recomonds everyone have a naloxone kit.

“If you have a naloxone kit, you may save someone with a substance abuse disorder, you may also rescue a two-year-old who pops a pill into their mouth. You may save someone like me, a 49-year-old who is the most likely demographic to die in Utah, because they were prescribed a medication and didn’t know how potentially risky it was.”

For more information on naloxone or what it can do, visit Utah Naloxone.

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Jason Nguyen
Jason Nguyen is an award-winning reporter and photojournalist who is back with ABC4 News as the lead reporter on Good Morning Utah, bringing over a decade of news experience to the team.