Utah Rural Opioid Healthcare Consortium & the Carbon and Emery Opioid and Substance Use Coalition: A Road Beginning with Community

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The Little Cities of Hope Series

By Jac’lyn Bera and Ashley Yaugher, PhD

The growing influence of opioid use in rural America is detrimental. As it continues to progress, rural communities are faced with dwindling resources and limited treatment options. In the coming months, the “The Little Cities of Hope Series” will bring information and awareness to this topic to our communities through ETV News. These articles are brought to you by members of both the Utah Rural Opioid Healthcare Consortium (UROHC) and the Carbon & Emery Opioid & Substance Use Coalition. Both of these groups seek to decrease the opioid epidemic we are facing as well as shed light on the positive and influential efforts our great communities are making to turn the tide on this epidemic.

In the Fall of 2018, UROHC* was formed to support patients and healthcare providers in the three most at-risk counties in the State of Utah. UROHC brings together hospitals, federally-qualified health centers, local health departments, and public and behavioral health entities in Carbon, Emery and Beaver counties via monthly meetings where local experts create plans to combat Opioid Use Disorder (OUD) in Utah. Three defining goals create the pillars for the foundation of UROHC: prevention, treatment and recovery. UROHC has opened a door to a conversation and debate surrounding prevention, treatment and recovery that allows communities to learn, grown and explore the opioid epidemic within the sanctity of their own support networks, giving empowerment back to communities faced with this ever growing concern.

In addition to this consortium, local community members and representatives have come together to form the Carbon & Emery Opioid & Substance Use Coalition. This coalition began in the Fall of 2018 and seeks to coordinate the efforts of our communities to comprehensively address the opioid epidemic we are facing. The coalition seeks to decrease stigma; increase effective prevention, treatment, harm reduction and other efforts; and come together to create healthier communities. We welcome all community members and stakeholders to join us on the first Monday of the month at 11 a.m. at USU Eastern’s Jennifer Leavitt Student Center in Price. Together, we can make a difference in our communities!

Likewise, healthcare providers are building pathways, at the grass-roots level, of open communication and trust within the populations that are being most affected. Thanks to the efforts of healthcare providers like Carbon Medical’s Helper Clinic, the Southeastern Utah Health Department, Four Corners Community Behavioral Health and many others, the use of best practices, mental health resources and healthy living practices are reaching all corners of the community. This allows people to pursue their best quality of life and engage in a future that is not impeded by opioid use.

As UROCH and the Carbon & Emery Opioid & Substance Use Coalition set out onto this road for recovery, the efforts, actions and voices of community members are not only desired, but needed. These efforts, along with other community initiatives, aim to raise awareness for available resources and services within the community. This March, UROCH is sponsoring the 2019 Opioid Recovery Summit: Roads to Recovery, which will be held at Utah State University Eastern on March 5th, 2019. This summit will feature a variety of topics surrounding opioid use, healthcare, and the ways communities are being impacted.

Register online for the summit here: https://urohc-opioid-recovery-summit.eventbrite.com?s=90655982

The creation of the Utah Rural Opioid Healthcare Consortium and the Carbon & Emery Opioid & Substance Use Coalition are stepping stones to improved rural health. The Coalition is a local effort, while UROHC seeks to inform other counties and states facing the opioid epidemic as well, and it aims to teach others how to build and thrive upon the foundations of a healthcare consortium. Through the development of the Utah Rural Opioid Healthcare Consortium, communities that have felt limited, unsupported and underserved are being presented with the power to find answers and most predominantly: solutions. To get involved, join us at our next Carbon & Emery Opioid & Substance Use Coalition meeting on March 4.

*The Utah Rural Opioid Healthcare Consortium (UROHC) is HRSA Funded

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