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Utah Naloxone: Battling Opioid Overdoses


A $45,000 donation will provide 500 free Naloxone rescue kits to help people save lives in the event on an opioid overdose.

The donation from Intermountain Healthcare was provided to the University of Utah's Department of Pediatrics for the purpose of providing the Naloxone rescue kits, which reverse the effects of an opioid overdose. The goal of this partnership is to increase awareness of and access to this important, life-saving medicine. Utah ranked fourth in the nation for drug poisoning deaths, outpacing deaths due to firearms, falls, and motor vehicle crashes, between 2012 and 2014. The substances most responsible for overdose deaths are commonly prescribed opioids such as oxycodone, hydrocodone, and codeine.

"These lives matter," said Jennifer Plumb, MD, assistant professor of pediatrics at the University of Utah School of Medicine and a local Naloxone champion. "Distribution of Naloxone kits has assisted at least 36 Utah families in reversing an overdose death in the past year. These families can now seek the treatment that will allow their children to live substance free lives."

Naloxone (Narcan®) rescue kits allow a people who witness an overdose to administer the medication via injection or intranasal administration. Nationally, distribution of Naloxone rescue kits resulted in more than 26,000 drug overdose reversals from 1996 to 2014.

Naloxone is legal, easy to administer, and has not been shown to increase drug misuse. Naloxone is currently available in the State of Utah by prescription. Legislation was passed during the 2016 legislative session to expand the accessibility of Naloxone.

"Funding for Naloxone rescue kits is just one part of Intermountain's initiative to decrease the burden of pharmaceutical drug misuse, abuse, and overdose," said Mikelle Moore, vice president of community benefit for Intermountain Healthcare. Intermountain has also focused on improving public awareness around the safe use, storage and disposal of prescription opioids, educating medical providers about the potential harmful effects of opioids, and improving access to treatment for opioid misuse.

Information on detecting an overdose or obtaining a Naloxone kit can be found at