It was recently announced that the Utah Legislature’s Social Services Appropriations Subcommittee is hosting a town hall opioid discussion in Carbon County. The committee chair, Representative Paul Ray, stated that the committee is over the budget for the state to handle substance abuse, suicide prevention and the like. Not long ago, it was brought to Rep. Ray’s attention that Carbon County is a red flag county and one of the highest when it comes to overdose and suicide deaths.
When that fact was brought to Rep. Ray’s attention, he decided that it was owed to the local citizens to do something about the statistics. A meeting was then hosted with the local health department to assess needs. From there, Rep. Ray and the committee were able to snag two full-time employee positions to give to Carbon County for substance abuse and suicide prevention. In addition, $125,000 was received for treatment follow up.
Rep. Ray said that for the upcoming town hall slated for Sept. 17, he will be a listening ear. It is important to Rep. Ray that the community does not feel as if they are being told how to handle things but are rather telling the representative and his committee the best way to handle and assist the issue. From community feedback and opinion, a plan of action will be drafted.
In addition to the town hall discussion, Rep. Ray also has meetings with entities such as the university, school district, commissioners, sheriff and more to get a feel for the area and issue at hand. Rep. Ray encourages those in the community to attend the meeting, share stories and get involved. He believes that the opioid issue needs to be handled as a health problem.
“The people that are addicted, they’re every day people,” Rep. Ray stated.
The town hall opioid discussion will take place at the Carbon County Events Center in Room 118A from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. To sign up for the public comment period and take the pre-meeting survey, please call (801) 326-1549 or visit le.utah.gov/opioidmeeting.