USU Extension to Host Rural Opioid and Stimulant Wellness Summit


A presenter discusses the opioid overdose epidemic at the first Opioid Health and Wellness Summit held in Salt Lake City in 2018. Photo by Dennis Hinkamp, USU Extension.

By Julene Reese

One in 10 people will develop a substance use disorder (SUD) in their lifetime, yet SUDs are among the most stigmatized mental health conditions in the United States.

Despite Utah’s relatively small population, the state ranked among the top three states most affected by the opioid overdose crisis in 2017. The rates of stimulants used with opioids, such as fentanyl, are now a leading contributor to overdose deaths throughout the U.S. The widespread impact of SUDs and the stigma against those affected by it leave many Utahns without access to life-saving social connections and support.

To address these concerns, the Utah State University Extension 2023 Rural Opioid and Stimulant Wellness Summit is scheduled for Oct. 24-26 in Price, Utah. The summit will respond to the pressing needs of rural communities combating SUDs to maintain strong, connected and healthy families in Utah.

This year’s summit, “Open Roads to Health and Wellness,” focuses on the pathways that can create robust, healthy families through prevention, treatment and recovery strategies.

Now in its sixth year, the event is intended for community members, professionals, field experts, and anyone interested in planning and acting against the growing opioid overdose and stimulant crises. Attendees will be able to learn from and connect with law enforcement officers, first responders, medical providers, prevention specialists, those in recovery, and substance use disorder professionals.

“The summit is designed to be a catalyst for open discussions and change,” said Ashley Yaugher, USU Health Extension: Advocacy, Research and Teaching Initiative faculty and summit organizer.

Community member registration scholarships are available, which cover 100% of registration, meals, learning opportunities, group activities and swag. Email for the scholarship code.

A pre-conference service project and ice cream social will be held the evening of Oct. 24.

Space is limited; click here to reserve your spot. Click here for more information on the conference. Continuing education credits are offered.

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