While Utah has experienced a drop in opioid-related overdose deaths, the rate of overdose deaths across America continues to rise.
What may be surprising is where in America those rates occur. Long perceived as an urban issue, rural communities are now experiencing overdose deaths at a higher rate than their urban neighbors.*
Civil Eats, a daily news source for critical thought about the American food systems, addresses the farm communities that are especially hard hit by the opioid addiction. In their recent article, Reckoning with Opioids in Farm Country, Randy Parker, Utah State Director for USDA Rural Development is featured for his work on tackling the opioid issue in rural Utah. Attorney General Sean Reyes is also highlighted for his work in the creation of a rural opioid task force, which Parker chairs, to focus efforts on providing prevention, treatment, and recovery for those who live in rural areas.
Here’s a look at a couple opioid roundtables in rural Utah.
Today, Attorney General Sean D. Reyes helped lead a discussion with leaders from over forty federal, state, local, and tribal organizations, on the value of partnerships and other tools in combating the opioid crisis in America. You can read the official media release here. Shout out to the White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs staff for hosting a very informative, classy, consequential event.
Let’s save some lives.
Event begins at the 29-minute mark.
Here is the breakdown of comments made in the opening forum (the smaller breakout sessions afterward were not live-streamed). One of the highlights of the discussion – in our humble opinion – was when AG Reyes highlighted the powerful Utah partnerships that make fighting the opioids crisis a winnable effort.
Honored & privileged to sit on @WhiteHouse Best Practices to Combat Opioid Crisis Summit panel today with US Surgeon General and other experts & over 40 reps from states and territories in attendance. Hopeful for positive outcomes and action items. #utpolpic.twitter.com/fBhulCToMd
In related news, the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 6, the Support for Patients and Communities Act while we were meeting today. You can read up on the bill here. Another step in the right direction.