New funds will help BRHD address the opioid crisis

FILE - This Tuesday, Feb. 19, 2013 file photo shows pills of the painkiller hydrocodone at a pharmacy in Montpelier, Vt. Accidental overdoses aren't the only deadly risk from using powerful prescription painkillers _ the drugs may also contribute to heart-related deaths and other fatalities, according to research published Tuesday, June 14, 2016. "As bad as people think the problem of opioid use is, it's probably worse," said Wayne Ray, the lead author and a health policy professor at Vanderbilt University's medical school. (AP Photo/Toby Talbot)

Recent new government funding will make it possible for the <a href=”http://www.brhd.org” target=”_blank”>Bear River Health Department</a> (BRHD) to enhance community prevention and intervention efforts in dealing with the opioid crisis.

The Bear River Health District includes Cache, Rich and Box Elder counties and recent numbers indicate 43 people in the district died of an opioid overdose in 2014-15, 16 of them in Logan.

Chelsy Schneringer, Health Educator, said Bear River Health operates a substance abuse division.

“We provide individual counseling as well as group counseling. We work a lot with the drug court and we also have recently started doing mental health counseling.”

Opioids like Oxycodone and Hydrocodone and others are highly addictive narcotic substances commonly prescribed to treat pain. BRHD has formulated strategies to prevent addiction and reduce associated problems.

“We’re trying to take a multi-component strategy,” said Schneringer. “We want to reduce the demand, which is part of preventing dependency and mis-use and this is done through only using directed materials, through social marketing campaigns, patient education and information dissemination.

“We also want to reduce the supply, or decrease the availability of opioids through prescriber education and reducing doctor shopping by promoting the use of the controlled substance database. It is also important that people properly store and dispose of their unused medications.”

She said the final phase includes the use of Naloxone.

“We want to reduce harm, by decreasing fatal and nonfatal overdoses and this is where Naloxone comes in. It is an opioid antagonist and will reverse an opioid or heroin overdose. It is available without a prescription.”

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