EPHRAIM—Utah is seventh in the nation for drug overdoses, and the majority of those overdoses are from opioids, according to a slideshow presentation presented to the Sanpete Cares Coalition last Monday, March 14.
Libby Hinckley from Central Utah Counseling Center gave her presentation to the coalition at the Ephraim City Hall about the dangers of opioids, especially fentanyl, as well as ways to identify when someone is close to an overdose and also what to do if a suspected overdose occurs.
Hinckley stated that the majority of overdoses in Sanpete County are from opioids, and that pills and illicit drugs laced with fentanyl especially are moving through the area and causing overdoses. She said that 80 percent of people with drug addictions started with the misuse of prescription medications.
Some symptoms to watch for that mean a person might be close to an overdose are restricted pupils, fingernails turning blue, gray, or purple, slow breathing, slow heart rate, and loss of consciousness.
Hinckley went on to say that it is important to have the medication naloxone on hand because it could save a life. Naloxone is a medication designed to reverse an opioid overdose. When used immediately after an overdose, it can block the effects of the drug and help prevent death, but 911 must be called as well.
Utah allows doctors and pharmacists to prescribe and dispense naloxone to someone who is not directly at risk for an overdose, and they have removed criminal, civil or professional liability for the provision of naloxone. However, you do need to be trained on how to administer it. For more information, you can call the Central Utah Counseling Center at 435-283-8400 or email them at firstname.lastname@example.org
The coalition also heard from Heidi Aagard from the New Horizons Crisis Center. She wanted to remind everyone that April is Sexual Abuse Awareness Month. Aagard is working towards getting permission to go into the high schools and teach about consent in conjunction with the health classes.
Aagard is a Sanpete Victims Advocate and can be reached at 1-800-343-6302.
Next, Nancy Bean with The Resource Clothing Bank reported to the coalition that in April they will be celebrating 10 years of service, and they are inviting community leaders to an open house on April 19.
Bean said they are looking forward to making hygiene kits for teens in need and are seeking donations for those. They also are looking to collect backpacks for elementary age students for school in August. Bean said the clothing bank appreciates all the donations received thus far and that they can always use volunteers to help. The clothing bank’s hours are Wednesdays from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m., and it is located at 50 S. 100 W. in Ephraim.
Finally, Shauna Watts from North Sanpete Hospital reported that they are looking to host a Health Fair and Family Fun Night on May 2. They are still making plans and hope to have some fun booths, dinner and a movie.
The Sanpete Cares Coalition is made up of volunteers and community leaders of Ephraim, Manti and Sterling. If you want to join, meetings are held the second Monday of every month at noon in the Ephraim City Hall Council Room.