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Opioids & Rural America

November 1, 2018

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.

You can learn more about opioid misuse in Rural America here and see how the USDA is responding in the following video (courtesy of USDA.gov)

 

*CDC Reports Rising Rates of Drug Overdose Deaths in Rural Areas

Photo by Timothy Eberly

AG Reyes leads White House discussion, highlights Utah solutions at Opioids Conference

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.   

LIVE STREAM

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. 

Welcome and Introduction from Doug Hoelscher
Kellyanne Conway, Counselor to the President of the United States
Robert Wilkie, Secretary of Veterans Affairs
Panel Discussion Introduction by Katie Talento
Sean Reyes, Utah Attorney General
Jim Carroll, Deputy Director for the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP)
Anne Hazlett, Assistant Secretary for Rural Development, United States Department of Agriculture
Admiral Brett Giroir, Assistant Secretary for Health, Health and Human Services
Sean Reyes, Utah Attorney General, Follow-up comments
Admiral Brett Giroir, Assistant Secretary for Health, Follow-up comments

If you would like to get involved in the fight to free your family and community from the opioid epidemic, please contact our office


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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.

We can win this.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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