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Utah opioid overdose deaths are down, thanks to Utah Naloxone

Part of the Utah Opioid Task Force, co-chaired by Attorney General Sean D. Reyes along with U.S. Senator Mike Lee and DEA District Agent-in-Charge Brian Besser, Utah Naloxone is a game-changer in the fight against opioids in the State of Utah. The Utah Attorney General’s office is proud of the work Utah Naloxone co-founder, Dr. Jennifer Plumb, has accomplished and is privileged to partner with her and her organization as we address the opioid epidemic in our great state.

For Immediate Release

UTAH NALOXONE REACHES MAJOR MILESTONE

SALT LAKE CITY – More than 3,000 people in Utah have a second chance at life thanks to the efforts of Utah Naloxone. All of these individuals were given the medication naloxone (Narcan) during an opioid overdose by a non-medical layperson around them. Naloxone reverses an opioid overdose if given in time, causing the effects of the opioid to reverse and bringing them back. Opioids include pain pills, heroin, and fentanyl.

All of these life-saving doses were administered by non-medical members of our community who obtained rescue kits from Utah Naloxone or one of its Overdose Outreach Provider partners just for this purpose. The recent reports bringing us to this milestone came from our partners at One Voice
Recovery (OVR) who work across the state of Utah to educate on substance use disorder, work to decrease stigma, as well as to reduce infectious disease transmission and overdose deaths. These direct community partners are a major contributor to saving lives across Utah.

The number of lives saved by naloxone has been attributed as a large part of why Utah is seeing a decline in the number of opioid deaths. We were one of only seven states in 2017 where the death rate is going down. And as the number of people who are surviving an opioid overdose and making it to an emergency room for care is rising – almost doubling from 2015 to 2017 (1.5/10,000 in 2015 to 2.8/10,000 in 2017). People are saving lives and giving people a chance to survive to make it to an ER which alters outcomes for our state.

There is still work to be done. Overdose is still the leading cause of injury death in the state, and Utah still is among states with a high rate of overdose deaths. If you or someone you know is taking opioids you should have Naloxone on hand in case of an overdose. Naloxone kits are available through Utah Naloxone. It is legal to possess the drug, and legal to administer it if you suspect someone is overdosing on opioids. For more information go to UtahNaloxone.org.

CONTACTS:
Jennifer Plumb, MD, MPH
Medical Director, Utah Naloxone
801-232-5410 801-696-1139
UtahNaloxone@gmail.com

Patrick Rezac
Executive Director, One Voice Recovery
801-696-1139
OneVoiceRecovery@gmail.com


Yesterday, Utah Attorney General’s office Special Agents and staff were trained on how to administer Naloxone in the field by Dr. Jennifer Plumb. Check out the photos below:

Pinwheels for Prevention: Raising Awareness about Child Abuse

The Utah Attorney General’s office is privileged to work in conjunction with the Utah Children’s Justice Centers and the partner organizations listed below to work towards the eradication of child abuse. The AG is committed to protecting children by prosecuting those who would seek to do them harm and provide necessary resources for healing and restoration. For more information about the work of the Utah Children’s Justice Centers, please visit www.utahcjc.org.

INTERMOUNTAIN HEALTHCARE NEWS

For Release:
April 15, 2019

Contact:
Jennifer Toomer-Cook: 801-662-6590 or 801-631-3484
Jennifer.Toomer-Cook@imail.org

More than 1,700 Pinwheels Planted by Child Abuse Prevention Advocates to Remember, Honor Children Who Died as a Result of Child Abuse

As part of the “Pinwheels for Child Abuse Prevention” project, 1,720 pinwheels – one for each child who died nationwide as a result of child abuse in 2017 – were planted on Primary Children’s lawn on Monday as a reminder of the gravity of child abuse and a symbol of hope for a safer tomorrow for children.

Blue and silver pinwheels were planted by Primary Children’s Hospital, Family Support Centers, Prevent Child Abuse Utah, the Utah Division of Child and Family Services, and the Utah Attorney General’s Office and Children’s Justice Centers.

Pinwheels for Child Abuse Prevention serve as a reminder that everyone has a responsibility to help protect children in the community through education, support to children and families in need, and by reporting suspected child abuse or neglect. Last year, more than 10,600 Utah children were victims of child abuse. 

If you see or suspect child abuse, call 1-855-323-3237 or local law enforcement.

Learn more about preventing child abuse at howtopreventabuse.org, onewithcourage.org, PCAUtah.org, and primarychildrens.org/safeandhealthyfamilies.

Utah AG: Best of State 2018

The Utah Attorney General’s Office found itself the proud recipient of multiple Best of State awards this year. Those in the Utah AG’s office work hard to uphold the Constitution, enforce the law, and protect the interests of Utah and its people. Our sincere thanks to all those who give their time and energy to help make our office the Best of State.

The Best of State Awards recognize outstanding individuals, organizations and businesses in Utah. More than 100 judges review the nominations and determine the winners based on achievement in the field of endeavor, innovation or creativity in approaches, techniques, methods or processes, and contribution to the quality of life in Utah.

See below for a complete list of the AG’s Best of State 2018 awards.

Elected State Official: Utah Attorney General Sean D. Reyes

Military Personnel/Unit: Utah@EASE

Public Safety: Investigations Division, Utah AGO

Public Works: Utah Opioid Task Force

Public/Private Partnership: The Utah Children’s Justice Center Program

Publication: Utah AGO White Collar Crime Offender Registry

State Agency/Office: Utah Attorney General’s Office

Victim Advocacy: Attorney General Sean Reyes

Web-based Community Resource: The SafeUT App

The Utah AGO nominated DEA District-Agent-in-Charge Brian Besser for the following award due to his relentless work in combatting the opioid epidemic that has hit Utah both in the metro and rural areas. We are privileged to call him a partner, colleague, and friend.

Public Safety Officer: DEA District-Agent-in-Charge Brian Besser

AG’s SECURE Strike Force busts Salt Lake drug ring

Salt Lake City and the Wasatch Front are a little safer thanks to the efforts of the Utah Attorney General’s SECURE Strike Force.

Last Friday, the SECURE Strike Force busted and charged three men for distributing drugs throughout the Valley. At the time of the arrest, the Strike Force found heroin, cocaine, and over $7,500 in cash.

For the full story, check out Pat Reavy’s article on KSL.com: 3 charged in Salt Lake drug distribution ring.

Melvin Arrazola-Raudales, Rene Leonardo Trejo-Raudales, and Richer Brayan Valle-Raudales were each charged with two counts of drug distribution (second-degree felony) and possession of a weapon (third-degree felony).

The Utah Attorney General’s Office administers and coordinates the SECURE Strike Force partnership with the Utah Department of Public Safety and county, federal and city law enforcement agencies to combat violent and other major felony crimes associated with illegal immigration and human trafficking.

National Vietnam War Veterans Day

Today, in honor of our Vietnam veterans, Utah Attorney General Sean D. Reyes shared the following statement:

On this National Vietnam War Veterans Day, we at the Office of the Utah Attorney General want to publicly thank and honor those who sacrificed so much in the Vietnam conflict and the families that stood alongside them during their service. Some of our colleagues in the AG’s Office fought in Vietnam with valor and distinction.

Over three million Americans served in the Vietnam War– a long, costly, and divisive conflict – and we lost more than 58,000 men and women as a nation. Tragically, according to the Veterans Administration, some 500,000 who served suffer severe post-traumatic stress disorder. Additionally, rates of divorce, suicide, alcoholism, and drug addiction are markedly higher among Vietnam veterans. For their sacrifice, it is our responsibility to acknowledge their contributions and provide resources designed to support them in whatever way possible.

Through programs like Utah@EASE, Sounds of Freedom, and our partnerships with the Department of Military & Veterans Affairs and Life’s Worth Living Foundation, we affirm our commitment to do all we can so our Vietnam veterans and their families find healing and peace.



Today, Governor Gary R. Herbert joined Rep. Chris Stewart and Major General Jefferson S. Burton in honoring the men & women that served in the Vietnam War. The Wreath Ceremony took place on the western grounds of the Capitol at the Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos Memorial. They were joined by Utah veterans and their families.

Man convicted using brother’s name

The Utah Attorney General’s Office recently found itself on the winning side of a strange and extraordinary appeal case before the Utah Supreme Court.

Here are the cliff notes:

  • Salt Lake PD stop a car with a revoked registration and find heroin and a .44 revolver in the car and arrest the driver. Defendant gives the name Bela Fritz.
  • During the trial process, Fritz takes a plea deal and is sent to prison. 
  • Fritz arrives at the prison and the Corrections officer checking him in discovers the photo associated with Bela Fritz does not match the man standing in front of him.
  • Upon questioning the defendant, the officer discovers that the defendant gave his brother’s name.

This was a first for Utah.

From there, the case went back to the prosecutors who then had to figure out what to do with a conviction of a man using a wrong name. The prosecutors went to the Third District Court seeking to undo a criminal conviction. The judge would not grant their request.

Enter the Utah Attorney General’s Criminal Appeals division who then took the case to the Utah Supreme Court. The Utah Supreme Court, in turn, told the Third District Court to revisit their decision stating, “A defendant’s misrepresentation of his or her identity is an illicit attempt to game the criminal justice system. It carries with it troubling consequences.”

Deseret News and ABC4 did a great job covering the story.
Click below for more.

Deseret News: Oh, brother: Offender posing as sibling fools Utah justice system, court says

ABC4: Appeal Case a First in Utah

Utah AG Joins Coalition Supporting FTC Identity Rules

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 14, 2019

 

UTAH ATTORNEY GENERAL SEAN D. REYES JOINS 31 ATTORNEYS GENERAL IN SIGNING MULTI-STATE LETTER SUPPORTING FTC IDENTITY RULES 

SALT LAKE CITY – On Friday, Utah Attorney General Sean D. Reyes joined a coalition of 31 attorneys general and sent a letter to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) urging the FTC to continue its Identity Theft Rules, which were originally adopted in November 2007. The letter cites the proliferation of identity theft in many states, and the growth in technology since the rules were adopted.

“Identity theft is one of the fastest growing crimes in the United States of America and one of the most disruptive and damaging to victims’ lives,” said Attorney General Reyes. “The Utah Attorney General’s Office-led SECURE Strike Force focuses tremendous resources on protecting the identities of Utah. We ask the FTC to do the same.”

The current rules require certain financial institutions and businesses that grant credit or issue debit or credit cards to take steps to detect, prevent and mitigate identify theft by implementing reasonable safeguards. The letter also suggests adding a requirement that a cardholder must be notified by email or cell phone if an email address or cell phone number is changed. This is in addition to the existing requirement to mail notification upon change of account address. The attorneys general also ask that suspicious account activity include account access by new and previously unknown devices and repeated unsuccessful access attempts.

David Sonnenreich from the Tax & Financial Services Division of the Utah Attorney General’s Office said, “Identity theft is a serious and rapidly growing problem that harms our citizens both financially and emotionally, and that increases costs for our businesses. Since 2007 the FTC’s ‘Red Flag’ and ‘Card Issuer’ rules have provided critical early warnings of identity theft to businesses and consumers and have helped to stop countless fraudsters in their tracks when they try to use stolen personal information. However, as cyberthieves become more sophisticated, we need to adopt better responses.”

Attorney General Reyes joined the Attorneys General of Alaska, California, Colorado, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Delaware, Hawaii, Iowa, Illinois, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Maryland, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, North Carolina, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico, Nevada, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Virginia, Vermont, Washington, and Wisconsin in signing this letter.

###

NOTES:


A copy of the letter can be found here: https://attorneygeneral.utah.gov/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/AG_Comment_Letter_to_FTC.pdf

Utah AG to Be Appointed to Federal Asian-American & Pacific Islander Commission

January 18, 2019

President Donald J. Trump announced his intent to appoint Utah Attorney General Sean D. Reyes to the President’s Advisory Commission on Asian-American and Pacific Islanders on Thursday.

The commission works to advise the President on issues that face the Asian-American and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) community, such as economic growth, education, health and housing. The commission also facilitates access to and participation in federal programs to AAPIs to improve the quality of life for the community.

In 2017, President Trump recognized the tremendous growth and needs of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs) in America and issued Executive Order 13811 to re-establish the commission. Attorney General Reyes is among 12 other people named to join the commission.

Read more:

Deseret News: https://www.deseretnews.com/article/900051235/utah-ag-seans-reyes-named-to-federal-asian-american-pacific-islander-commission.html

KSL News: https://www.ksl.com/article/46470802/utah-ag-seans-reyes-named-to-federal-asian-american-pacific-islander-commission

January is National Slavery & Human Trafficking Prevention Month

1/9/2019

Today, Utah Attorney General Sean D. Reyes, in an effort to educate and protect the citizens of Utah, issued the following statement recognizing National Slavery & Human Trafficking Prevention Month.

“Having seen the brutal effects of human trafficking  in a very close and personal way, I can attest that it robs victims of innocence, dignity, and hope. It is a horrific violation of human rights and a crime of terror. Every Utahn – every American – must understand that human trafficking can be found in any community — rural or urban, wealthy or modest, religious or secular. It does not discriminate in its victimization of people of all backgrounds.

“The eradication of human trafficking should be a priority for all who value justice, virtue and freedom. The fight to end human trafficking transcends political and ideological differences. It is not a Democrat or Republican issue but a humanitarian one. As such, it is critical for Utah and all states to work even more closely with law enforcement, first responders, and the communities who come in contact with human trafficking victims to combat modern-day slavery.

“We are grateful for our partnerships here at home, across the nation, and abroad that educate the public, liberate the captives, and provide healing for survivors. Utah has made great strides in recent years and is a recognized worldwide leader in the fight. But it’s still not enough. I invite all Utahns to get involved. Know the signs and learn how to report. Good people will not rest until human trafficking is eradicated from every community in Utah and around the world.”

Stay tuned over the next few weeks. The Utah Attorney General’s Office will publish a short series of human trafficking articles – how to recognize trafficking, how to report, and detailing elements of this $150 billion worldwide industry. Thank you for paying attention.

Protecting Utah Consumers: Wells Fargo Settlement

January 1, 2019

On Friday, Wells Fargo agreed to pay $575 million after investigations and lawsuits from all 50 states and the District of Columbia for account fraud and other illegal business practices. Utah will receive $10 million.

Investigations started in 2016 after Wells Fargo admitted employees opened over 3.5 million fraudulent bank accounts in consumers’ names, without their knowledge or consent. Further investigation revealed improper practices involving insurance, auto loans, financing, and mortgages.

The Utah Attorney General’s Office worked alongside the Division of Consumer Protection and 49 other attorneys general to reach an appropriate settlement. From the press release:

“To date, this settlement represents the most significant engagement involving a national bank by state attorneys general acting without a federal law enforcement partner.”

Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes stated, “We appreciate the efforts Wells Fargo has made to address these important consumer issues. We all share the same goal: to enjoy a strong economy where consumers’ privacy, choices, and funds are protected. To this end, the Division of Consumer Protection, our assistant AG’s and sister-state Attorneys General acted with vigilance and I am grateful for their hard work.”

This settlement agreement follows previous settlements and fines paid by Wells Fargo. “This agreement underscores our serious commitment to making things right in regard to past issues as we work to build a better bank,” said Tim Sloan, Chief Executive Officer and President of Wells Fargo, in Wells Fargo’s press release.

The $10 million that Utah receives will go to the Division of Consumer Protection Education Fund.

Read more:

Press release: Utah Division of Consumer Protection to receive $10M in multi-state settlement

The settlement agreement (82-page PDF)

Salt Lake Tribune: Wells Fargo pays $575 million to settle state investigations over fake accounts and other shady practices; $10 million will go to Utah

Deseret News: Wells Fargo pays $575 million to settle state investigations

New York Times: Wells Fargo Agrees to Pay $575 Million to Resolve State Investigations

 

 

 

Photo by Mike Mozart

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