Hatch Center Hosts “Combating the Opioid Crisis” Symposium

Salt Lake City, UT—Today, the Hatch Center—the policy arm of the Orrin G. Hatch Foundation—hosted a symposium at the Joseph Smith Memorial Building in Salt Lake City, Utah, on innovative solutions to combat the opioid crisis. 

In March of last year, the Utah State Department of Injury Prevention Program reported that on average, six Utahns die every week from opioid overdose. In the Beehive State alone, from 2000 to 2015, Utah experienced a nearly 400 percent increase in deaths from the misuse and abuse of prescription drugs. And from 2013 to 2015, Utah ranked as the 7th highest state in the nation for drug overdose deaths. Click here to read the full report. 

“A crisis of this magnitude requires the collective creativity and brainpower of both the public and private sectors to address it. What we need are public-private partnerships that match the innovation of industry with the resources of government to effectively combat the opioid epidemic,” said Matt Sandgren, Executive Director of the Hatch Foundation. “That’s why this morning, we’ve gathered Utah’s brightest policy minds under one roof for a deep-dive discussion on the opioid crisis and groundbreaking solutions coming out of the private sector.”
“I appreciate Senator Hatch’s leadership and foresight to confront the opioid epidemic and pass monumental legislation in U.S. Congress back in 2000,” said Utah Senate President J. Stuart Adams. “We will only have success in ending this crisis by continuing to work together to find solutions to help those in need.”
“I am grateful to the Orrin G. Hatch Foundation for placing a spotlight on the devastating results of opioid addiction,” said Brad Wilson, Speaker of the Utah House of Representatives. “Our state would not be where it is today without the numerous experts who work tirelessly to find innovative solutions to this complex challenge. It is my hope that we will continue to work hand-in-hand to keep Utahns safe, happy, and healthy.” 
“As Utah shows leadership in the nationwide opioid crisis, we must realize in order to catch up, let alone get ahead, we will have to do things we haven’t been willing to do before,” said Damien Patton, Founder and CEO, Banjo. “We must keep ethics at the forefront and as much as we want to help, we need to protect the privacy of those battling this crisis.”
The event also included a panel of local experts, including: Mikelle Moore, Senior Vice President and Chief Community Health Officer, Intermountain Healthcare; Anna Fondario, Program Manager, Violence and Injury Prevention Program, Utah State Department of Health; Tom Ross, Bountiful City Chief of Police and Former President, Utah Chiefs of Police; and Brian Redd, Chief, Utah Department of Public Safety, State Bureau of Investigation.