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Utah Opioid Task Force Convenes, Says Farewell to DEA District-Agent-in-Charge Brian Besser

November 25, 2019

Today, the Utah Opioid Task Force convened to discuss the opioid crisis in Utah and to consider new programs and resources.

Miss it? Listen to the audio here:

Trauma and Suicide Screening and Response

Dr. Brooks Keeshin with the University of Utah and Primary Children’s Hospital presented on the link between childhood trauma, suicide, and substance abuse. Keeshin has been working with the Children’s Justice Centers to help screen children at risk and get them the resources they need.

The Appropriate Use of the DEC Exam

Dr. Toni Laskey with the University of Utah and Primary Children’s Hospital presented on her work to create more effective medical exams and care for drug endangered children.

Sober Peer

Ed DeShields presented on Sober Peer, an upcoming app for those struggling with addiction, powered by an artificial intelligence-driven system that measures recovery, predicts outcomes, and suggests “best”, next steps for treatment.

For more information: soberpeer.com.

BluNovus

James Hadlock presented on the need for personal connection in the fight against opioid addiction and mental illness. Additionally, he presented on BluNovus, a company that helps employers connect employees to mental health resources and works to end the stigma.

For more information: blunovus.com

Farewell to DEA District-Agent-in-Charge Brian Besser

Utah Attorney General Sean D. Reyes presented an award to DEA District-in-Charge Brian Besser for his incredible work in the fight against the opioid crisis in Utah and in the Opioid Task Force. Besser will head to Washington, D.C. in a new role in the DEA. We congratulate Besser and thank him for all that he has done. He will be dearly missed here, but we look forward to working with him in his new role.

Utah Opioid Task Force focuses on what’s next

December 5, 2018

The Utah Opioid Task Force, co-chaired by Senator Mike Lee, DEA District Agent in Charge Brian Besser, and Utah Attorney General Sean D. Reyes, had its quarterly meeting to discuss several topics for next steps following the Utah Solutions Summit, which focused on the opioid crisis in the state of Utah. Here’s a brief recap. 

  • Opioid Summit Report: Attendance surpassed expectations. The goal was to reach 5,000 between the morning session geared toward students and the afternoon spent resourcing the community. In reality, over 9,000 students and community members showed up and participated in the event. The big takeaway from the Summit was the powerful impact it had on the students in attendance. Many students download both the SafeUT App and the FENDMovement App – each of which has proven effective in students with helpful resources.
  • Dr. Eric Garland from the University of Utah College of Social Work spoke on mindfulness-oriented recovery enhancement (MORE). The research and evidence on this are showing remarkable results. It shows one can reduce the physiological response to opioid addiction, which is a huge answer for those who are suffering.
  • Gary Tennis, President of the National Alliance for Model State Drug Laws (NAMSDL), provided a great perspective on national drug laws and included information regarding police-assisted recovery from opioid addiction. 
  • Chief Tom Ross, of the Bountiful Police Department, spoke about what police deal with on the streets. A pilot program is being developed to create options for addicts to go to the intensive treatment programs in lieu of criminal charges. This is a course of action the AG’s office has been assisting with and promoting.

Following the meeting, Assistant AG Scott Reed, Coordinator of the Utah Opioid Task Force, took time to share with KSL-TV about the success of Solutions Summit. You can watch the interview below.

 

D.A.R.E. unveils new curriculum addressing opioids

At a press conference today, D.A.R.E. America announced its entrance into the fight against opioids by unveiling a new curriculum focused specifically on the dangers of opioids and prescription drugs. Utah Attorney General Sean D. Reyes and DEA District Agent in Charge Brian Besser were on hand to support the new move for the decades-old program. 

Over 2.5 million Utah students have been trained in drug awareness and preventions since D.A.R.E. launched almost three decades ago. However, as the challenges of youth have changed, the D.A.R.E. education programs have had to evolve to meet those ever-increasing needs.

The recent rise of opioid addiction and overdose deaths have compelled D.A.R.E. America to create lesson plans that help students navigate a new reality throughout the states.

These lesson plans go beyond the traditional “Just Say No” slogan to strategies that provide students with the skills and knowledge needed to help their peers who may be struggling as well as make good and healthy decisions in every area of life.

You can watch the entire press conference here: 

Additional coverage of the event can be found at:

Fox13: D.A.R.E. fights opioid crisis with new lesson plans

KSL-TV: D.A.R.E. Program Steps Up Curriculum For Utah Students

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