Park City Hospital offering free kits to reverse drug overdoses
Hospital is hosting a training session for anyone in the community
Officials say opioid use in Summit County doesn’t seem to have reached the levels that other communities across the country are struggling with, where overdoses and drug use are rampant. However, Park City Hospital wants to help prepare community members to be able to combat the problem and save lives just in case it does become a local epidemic.
Park City Hospital is joining other agencies across the state in offering naloxone training, which will include distribution of free rescue kits to take home, from 5 to 7 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 3, in the hospital’s Blair Education and Conference Center, located on the ground floor of the north building.
Naloxone is a non-addictive, life-saving drug that can reverse the effects of an opioid overdose when administered in time, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The medication blocks opioid receptor sites. Kits typically cost around $50.
“At the end of the day, our goal is prevent people from dying from an opioid overdose and to give people the tools that they might need to assist in that,” said Amy Roberts, a spokesperson for the hospital. “We have to stop the bleeding. There is an opioid epidemic and this is an immediate, instant solution. We certainly have a lot of steps in place and goals and initiatives that we are implementing, as well, to get to the root of the problem.
“We are certainly not immune to overdoses by any means,” she added. “I think more and more people are becoming aware that we do have a problem, not just statewide and across the country, but here in our own backyard.”
More than 100,000 Americans have died from drug overdoses in the past two years, according to an event release. In Utah, the release states, drug poisoning is the leading cause of unintentional death.
“It really is shocking,” Si Hutt, Park City Hospital administrator, stated in the release. “Utah is fourth in the nation for drug overdose deaths. And in every graph I see, the lines continue to move in the wrong direction.”
Dr. Wain Allen, primary care physician with practices in Coalville and Kamas, said he supports the event because there is a “huge group of people that are addicted and seeking treatment and a huge group that are not seeking treatment.”
“I don’t see this as a huge pivotal thing, but I think it is a useful item,” he said. “I think sometimes you would tend to think that it encourages addiction. But, almost all the people I know that are addicted wish they could stop.
“I don’t think this will be a huge item, but in very specific circumstances it would be life-saving,” he added.
Deputies with the Summit County Sheriff’s Office are required to carry two doses of naloxone on them while on patrol, Lt. Andrew Wright said. He added, “We have saved lives with it.”
“I wouldn’t say we have an epidemic here locally like what you are seeing in other cities,” Wright said. “We aren’t seeing reports daily or even weekly. But, we deal with it here. Drugs of every kind and sort are in our community. If we lose one life then we have a problem.”
Last year, two 13-year-old Treasure Mountain Junior High School students overdosed on a synthetic opioid, sending the community into shock. In the months following their deaths, community members sprang into action to address drug use and mental health.
In August, deputies responded to a home in the Basin where a 29-year-old man was suffering from an apparent overdose and not breathing after reportedly using heroin. Deputies arrived and administered naloxone, according to a report. The man immediately began taking small breaths and eventually regained full consciousness before being taken to a hospital.
“Anytime there are resources available to save a life prior to us getting there, whether its law enforcement or medical personnel, we support it,” Wright said. “When you talk specifically about overdoses, obviously, seconds matter in someone’s life.”
Wright noted that it’s important for the public attending the training to call 911 in the event of a suspected overdose. He said individuals who are given naloxone still have to go to the hospital and receive follow-up care.
Park City Hospital has a goal of distributing at least 30 rescue kits at the event.
“The big thing is this is a no-judgement zone,” Roberts said. “For a lot of people, it is taboo to admit they have a problem or someone they love has a problem. But, there really is no judgement. It’s not taboo. Set yourself up so you don’t have to get help after the fact. Anyone who wants to come is welcome. You don’t have to be at risk yourself. The problem is so widespread there is a chance that someone you know is hiding it.”
To learn more about the event and to register, go to this website.