By Ashley Yaugher, PhD and Jac’lyn Bera
Little Cities of Hope Series
At the 2019 Opioid Recovery Summit, over 178 community members checked in for the day at USU Eastern to hear from speakers about the multiple roads to recovery, treatment and prevention. The summit encouraged recovery in our local communities that have been hit hard by the opioid epidemic.
The Opioid Recovery Summit included an overview of opioid use and the ways our communities are being impacted. The summit also included many meaningful stories of hope from individuals in recovery, influential speakers in the areas of healthcare and the justice system, and a chance for us all to come together in support of the many roads to recovery and collaborate to continue eradicating this epidemic in our communities. The summit was brought to our communities by the Utah Rural Opioid Healthcare Consortium (UROHC), which supports patients and healthcare providers in the three most at-risk counties in the State of Utah.
Key takeaways from the event included messages of hope, connection and the importance of community support for those who face the difficult journey of healing from substance use disorders. Attendees recommended more discussions on community initiatives and how those projects are making a local impact at future summits. Additionally, they felt it would be helpful to provide attendees with the opportunity to find out more about available resources close to home.
Stories of overcoming adversity were met with overwhelming support and were rated as the most impactful at the summit. These sessions included the presentation given by Magistrate Albert Zweig from Colorado, who shared his story of recovery and his experience with Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT), and the recovery panel with four strong, local women in recovery who shared their paths to recovery.
With people sharing their stories and communicating positive examples of recovery, we find strength in knowing that recovery is possible and that our words and thoughts matter. This is especially important when it comes to reducing the stigma associated with treatment for substance use disorder and opioids. Addiction impacts us all, but by coming together and hearing from others, reducing stigma to encourage healing is possible.
Please save the date for the upcoming Rural Opioid Health & Wellness Summit: Communities Empowered to Save Lives! to be hosted on July 18th – 19th 2019 at Utah State University Eastern in Price for rural community members. More information forthcoming.