Intermountain Healthcare announced that it will be providing $2 million in 2018 to support community efforts to decrease opioid misuse, overdose, and deaths. The health system’s 2018 donation follows on a $3 million donation provided from 2015 through 2017 to address the opioid crisis in Utah.
In 2018, most of the funds contributed by Intermountain will be donated to programs of the Opioid Community Collaborative, a group formed in 2015 by Intermountain, the Utah Division of Substance Abuse and Mental Health, the Utah Department of Health, Weber Human Services, Davis Behavioral Health, and other community agencies.
The Collaborative has launched a number of initiatives addressing opioid misuse, including public awareness messaging (“Speak Out, Opt Out, Throw Out”), drop boxes for the safe disposal of unused medications, improving access to treatment, and distribution of Naloxone rescue kits. The funding will support the continuation of a medication assisted treatment demonstration project currently serving more than 300 people. Intermountain and the Collaborative also work closely with the Utah Coalition for Opioid Prevention and other groups.
Part of Intermountain’s $2 million donation will also support provider education promoting best prescribing practices for clinicians who prescribe opioid medications. Intermountain recently announced a goal of reducing by 40% the number of opioid tablets in prescriptions for acute care conditions—a goal designed to reduce the number of unused, leftover tablets.
Utah is currently seventh in the nation for prescription opioid overdose deaths, according to the Utah Department of Health. In 2014, an average of 24 Utah adults died every month as a result of prescription opioid overdoses. More than 7,000 opioid prescriptions are filled in Utah every day, and physical dependence on those prescriptions can occur within seven days of use.
“Drug poisoning is the leading cause of death in Utah—more deadly than falls, car crashes and gun deaths,” said Lisa Nichols, Community Health Partnership Director for Intermountain Healthcare. “When we consider all the people touched by tragedies involving opioid misuse, everyone is potentially at risk and has a stake in addressing the problem.”
Intermountain Healthcare is a Utah-based, not-for-profit system of 22 hospitals, 180 clinics, a Medical Group with some 1,500 employed physicians, a health plans division called SelectHealth, and other health services. Helping people live the healthiest lives possible®, Intermountain is widely recognized as a leader in clinical quality improvement and in efficient healthcare delivery.