March 7, 2019: Bear River Prevention Conference in Brigham, UT
Despite a blizzard striking in the early morning hours, the Bear River Prevention Conference: Our Community and Opioids, was a success. The Conference Co-Sponsored by USU Extension, Bear River Health Department, and Intermountain Health Care Bear River Hospital, brought together over 130 local community members from Box Elder, Cache, and Rich Counties. The community members were prevention specialists, treatment professionals, students, EMS and Law Enforcement, behavioral health providers, local government staff and those interested in learning more about the Opioid Crisis in their towns and cities.
The presenters discussed the current drug use crisis and factors that have contributed to the overdose deaths of approximately 72,000 people in 2018. Speakers also provided current research into alternative treatments for chronic pain in patients with mental health, and SUD (Substance Use Disorders). They also agreed that providing research-based early education, prevention, intervention, and treatment alternatives to reduce the use of addictive substances (including opioid pain medicine) is a preliminary step in treating this Crisis.
The conference concluded with participants being called to action in their communities. After learning about local resources and options available in the fight to prevent Substance Use Disorder (SUD), Opioid Use Disorder (OUD), overdose, and suicide, what they do will make a difference. Whether carrying the lifesaving Narcan (Naloxone) for opioid overdose or providing available resources to a family in need of assistance, all agreed that acting locally is a start to something bigger. They were challenged to take the next step and become part of the solution to battle this SUD crisis. As a Bear River community, they all agreed to take that step to offer help and not judge their neighbors.
As the Conference concluded, the morning blizzard had became a warm and sunny afternoon. To see presentations from the summit via video, visit the HEART Resources page here.