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Reducing Prescription Drug Misuse, Abuse, and Overdose

Reducing prescription drug misuse, abuse, and overdose were elements included in U of U Health’s Strategy Refresh. We have committed as a system to continue to advocate for clear, science-supported policy recommendations on public health needs related to opioids. And we will work with patients with chronic conditions to learn how to better coordinate care for them, and expand health coaching to more patients with chronic conditions.

Institutional Initiatives

The following strategies and initiatives relate to reducing prescription drug misuse, abuse, and overdose. University of Utah Health commits to these as part of the Community Health Needs Assessment process and will work toward fulfilling them over the next three years.

Addiction Recovery Services

Substance use disorders can affect many aspects of a person’s life. With this in mind, our addiction medicine and recovery experts aim to treat the individual as a whole with behavioral therapies, medication management, experiential therapies, family therapy, and aftercare support.

Explore the Options

Safe Medication Disposal

Getting rid of your unused, expired medicines and controlled substances prevents other people from misusing and abusing prescription drugs. University of Utah Health Pharmacies offers 12 safe and convenient locations where you can safely dispose of expired or unused prescription medications. 

Find a Location


The Program for Addiction Research, Clinical Care, Knowledge, and Advocacy (PARCKA) was founded at University of Utah in 2018 to improve and address access and quality of health care provided to persons who have addictions or who are otherwise medically vulnerable. 

Explore the Program

News & Updates

Attacking the Opioid Crisis form All Sides

We need better alternatives for treating pain and better services to treat patients who have addiction and dependency issues. U of U Health is taking a thoughtful approach to supporting multiple specialties, all empowered to help our patients and make their lives better.

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NIH Awards Support Projects That Tackle the Opioid Crisis

Two University of Utah School of Medicine projects have been awarded grants through the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Helping to End Addiction Long-term Initiative (HEAL), a national effort providing nearly $1 billion to support research that tackles opioid addiction and the overdose crisis.

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Opioids Leading Cause of Pregnancy-Associated Death in New Utah Moms

As the opioid epidemic rages on, one vulnerable group—new moms—have often been overlooked. A study at the University of Utah Health found that drug-induced death is the most common cause of pregnancy-associated death in the Beehive State. 

Understand the Problem

Strategies to Meet CHNA Requirements

Increase prevention efforts through education and community outreach

  • Improve and increase patient education about proper drug disposal
  • Increase community outreach and access to pain management education materials
  • Increase community education regarding substance use awareness

Measure prescribing practices withing University of Utah Health to identify and create best practices:

  • Measure the current patterns of controlled substance prescribing for patients with acute versus chronic disease and to develop best practices in a patient-centered manner
  • Measure buprenorphrine-specific prescribing rates
  • Measure how U of U Health clinicians co-prescribe controlled substances alongside opioids

Expand access to treatment through trainings and standardization of processes

  • Expand Naloxone trainings throughout the community and within the U of U Health system
  • Expand buprenorphrine waiver trainings throughout the community and within the U of U Health system
  • Leverage our electronic medical record platform, Epic, to encourage best prescribing practices through the use of care coordination and standardization