Thursday, July 19, 2018

USU health extension co-hosts opioid summit

USU health extension co-hosts opioid summitLOGAN — Utah State University Extension recently launched a new program this spring – Health Extension: Advocacy, Research & Teaching (HEART). The program came about as a way to provide credible resources to help Utahns improve their health and wellness in multiple areas, including physical, emotional, intellectual, occupational, social, environmental, spiritual and financial.

The first area of focus for HEART is on opioid misuse prevention and treatment. As a start for addressing this issue, an Opioid Health and Wellness Summit will be held Aug. 1-2 at the Salt Lake Marriott Downtown at City Creek.

The summit is co-hosted by USU Extension Health, USU College of Agriculture and Applied Sciences, College of Education, and College of Humanities and Social Sciences and will provide an opportunity for stakeholders in Utah to come together to learn, network and collaborate on substance use disorder issues in the state.

The summit is designed for anyone working in the areas of opioid misuse prevention or treatment, including social workers, first responders, public officials, medical professionals, mental health professionals, educators and researchers, advocates, family members and people in recovery.

“Utah is, in many ways, an unusually healthy state,” said Sandra Sulzer, USU Extension assistant professor of health and wellness. “We have some of the lowest rates of cancer in the nation and lower-than-average tobacco and alcohol use rates. Nonetheless, opioids have been a major issue.”

Sulzer said that between 2000 and 2015, the state saw a 400 percent increase in deaths resulting from the misuse and abuse of prescription drugs. From 2013-2015, Utah ranked seventh in the nation for drug overdose deaths, the majority of which were opioid-related.

“And some counties, such as Carbon and Emery, have rates well above that state average,” she said. “This puts them among the hardest hit in the nation.”

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For registration information, visit For further summit information, contact Durward at or 435-797-5843.

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