Intermountain Healthcare to host forum at Park City Hospital about opioid crisis in Utah |

Intermountain Healthcare to host forum at Park City Hospital about opioid crisis in Utah

Intermountain Healthcare CEO Marc Harrison is scheduled to speak about the opioid crisis in Utah at a forum Nov. 8 at Park City Hospital.
Courtesy of Intermountain Healthcare |

Addressing a crisis requires a conversation, and that’s what Intermountain Healthcare hopes to do in Utah.

The healthcare provider is scheduled to host a community forum on the opioid crisis at the Park City Hospital on Nov. 8. Intermountain Healthcare CEO Marc Harrison is scheduled to speak at the event, which the hospital says will cover Utah’s specific problems with opioid abuse and Park City’s role in stemming the epidemic.

The opioid epidemic is a national problem, one President Donald Trump officially declared a crisis on Oct. 26,

According to an Intermountain Healthcare press release, the U.S. consumes 80 percent of the world’s opioids.

“I assure you, we don’t have 80 percent of the world’s pain,” Harrison said in the statement.

David Haselton, associate medical officer for Intermountain Healthcare, says the organization’s approach to the opioid crisis in Utah is focused on communities and their pharmaceutical providers.

Utah has the dubious distinction of being one of the top states for overdoses. According to the Utah Department of Health, 32 percent of Utahns aged 18 or older had been prescribed a pain medication in 2014, and the state ranks 7th in the U.S. for prescription drug overdoses.

Park City is still feeling the effects of a high-profile case in September 2016 where two Treasure Mountain Junior High School students died after overdosing on U-47700, a synthetic opioid they obtained over the internet.

Haselton said Intermountain Healthcare’s focus, though, is on providers, who he said bear much of the responsibility for the current crisis. Many of the opioids consumed today are legally prescribed for pain diagnoses. Many diagnoses can be treated with simple procedures and surgeries and can leave out opiates entirely, he said.

“Education to providers is ongoing still and on the treatment side of things we certainly have some work to do there but we’re working with naloxone kits and other community providers for treatment,” Haselton said. “Once we give providers data (on opioid prescriptions), they look at this and know that we have a long ways to go and that alone helps them look at this with a different vision of how to help a patient besides just prescribing opiates.”

Naloxone kits are often deployed as treatment for opioid overdoses. Intermountain Healthcare recently hosted a naloxone training event in Park City.

Intermountain Healthcare also plans on hosting a provider conference in Park City next month.

Haselton said the organization’s goal is to reduce painkiller tablet prescriptions in communities by 40 percent.

“The flow of opioids in the community is significant, and so that’s one way we’re tackling it,” Haselton said. “On the treatment side of things, we still have work to do there.”

The community forum on opioids is scheduled for Nov. 8 at 7 p.m. in Intermountain Park City Hospital’s Blair Education and Conference Center, Attendees should RSVP at