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Utah Naloxone Counts More Than 3,000 Lives Saved

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – A group focused on preventing opioid overdose deaths just crossed a major milestone. The medical director for Utah Naloxone said they have now saved more than 3,000 lives. 

Dr. Jennifer Plumb, who also co-founded the organization, said she made the discovery when tallying their numbers on Friday. They have given out more than 46,000 free kits. They are now aware of 3,015 people who have been saved by the free naloxone kits they distribute.

“It’s kind of a combination of amazing and terrifying, because that means 3,000-plus times that somebody was in that terrifying moment, where someone could have died right in front of them, and because they had the right equipment and knowledge and will to save somebody’s life, they were able to do just that,” Plumb said.

Patrick Rezac, who runs One Voice Recovery, is a partner of Utah Naloxone. He helps distribute the kits and, by his count, has used them to save nine lives. One of those people, he said, went on to learn life-changing news.

“He found out he has a son that was about six months old after that reversal and now he’s back on the East Coast in treatment back with his family. That is incredibly powerful because, had we not stopped… he would have probably never known his son and that was a second chance for him,” Rezac said.

Plumb said the number of people who are treated for overdoses in emergency rooms nearly doubled from 2015 to 2017. She said that’s a good indication that naloxone is working.

“That sounds like we have that many more people overdosing, when in reality, our death rate’s going down, so what that means is we have that many more people living past an overdose,” she said.

While their efforts have saved lives, Plumb said it was also important that they sparked a conversation.

“It really has opened these doors where people go, ‘okay, it really is alright to talk about. We don’t want people to die,’” she said. “These lives are important. When these people are lost, they matter to somebody and so anything we can do to keep pushing that envelope is the right thing.”

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