Chapters Views and News
from the AAP Department of Community
and Chapter Affairs and Quality Improvement
On an average day, 78 people in the U.S. die from
an opioid-related overdose, according to the Centers
for Disease Control and Prevention.
Utah ranks fourth highest in prescription drug overdose deaths in the U.S., with a 400% increase in the
past decade. The AAP Utah Chapter is trying to reduce
these deaths by making naloxone, a drug that blocks
or reverses the effects of opioid medication, easily accessible to the public.
Other measures recently adopted through the 2017
Annual Leadership Forum (ALF) resolution process
encourage communities to offer safe return and safe
disposal of opioids.
Greater access to naloxone needed
Jennifer Plumb, M.D., M.P.H.,
FAAP, Utah adolescent addiction
chapter champion, has been at the
forefront of Utah’s opioid crisis for
many years. Dr. Plumb is medical
director for Utah Naloxone, a group
working to increase access to nal-
oxone. Utah Naloxone received a
2015 Community Access to Child
“What’s different about this program,” Dr. Plumb
said, “is that we are empowering everyday people to
save lives and in turn hoping to make an impact on
the state’s extremely high rate of drug overdose deaths.”
Since receiving the grant, the chapter has developed
an educational outreach program for health care pro-
viders, families, teachers and community advocates
about the use of naloxone for rescue from overdose.
“We have been working to provide naloxone kits
to concerned parents, individuals,
Utah Chapter President Charles W.
Pruitt, M.D., FAAP. “The abuse of
prescription opioids is a silent, un-
recognized epidemic for our teenag-
ers. While far too many adolescents
die in car crashes, the greater numbers of teens that
die from overdoses rarely make the headlines and are
almost never grieved for in public, so there is little
community recognition for the scope of this problem.”
Since July 2015, over 4,300 naloxone rescue kits
have been distributed across Utah, and more than 15
law enforcement agencies have been equipped with
kits. In addition, over 3,500 people received training
in use of the kits. There have been 176 known uses of
the naloxone kits to reverse opioid overdoses.
The chapter continues to work on providing greater
access to these kits and easier access to substance abuse
counseling, treatment and rehabilitation services.
Two of the 68 resolutions adopted at the 2017 ALF
focused on the safe return and disposal of medications.
The resolution “Medication Return and Safe Dis-
posal” requested that the Academy work with federal
entities such as the Food and Drug Administration,
Drug Enforcement Agency and Board of Pharmacy
to draft and implement take-back programs funded
by pharmaceutical companies. These programs would
allow unused medications to be safely returned to local
pharmacies and disposed of properly. The resolution
was among the Top 10 resolutions adopted this year,
coming in at number 9.
The resolution “Safe Disposal of Leftover Opioids
and Other Schedule 2 Medications” also was adopted
at this year’s forum. It proposes that the Academy adapt
educational materials related to the disposal of unused
medications to distribute to prescribers and parents. The
materials would emphasize safe storage and disposal of
opioids and other schedule 2 medications and encourage
parents to investigate local resources for disposal.
These national and chapter efforts confirm that educating primary care pediatricians, pediatric medical
specialists, pediatric surgical subspecialists and other
health care providers on the optimal and safe use of
opioids remains a priority for AAP leaders.
AAP tackling opioid epidemic at chapter, national levels
• Utah Naloxone website, www.utahnaloxone.org
• More information on the CATCH grant for naloxone
rescue kits is available at http://bit.ly/2oD8kGu.
• For more information, contact Allison Buckley, in the
AAP Division of Chapter and District Relations, at 847-
434-7892 or email@example.com.