Utah Naloxone Creates Controversy


Dixie Poindexter, Senior News Editor

According to UtahNaloxone.org, opioid overdose is the leading cause of injury death in Utah, exceeding both vehicular and firearm related deaths. Utah also had the highest rate of drug overdose among veterans than any other state in 2014. Due to factors such as these, Naloxone, an opioid antagonist, has become very prevalent in Utah.
In an interview with a Utah Naloxone representative, Jacob Zimmerli, he stated that six familiar signs of opioid overdose are: slowed and shallow breathing or snoring and gurgling sounds (Death Rattle), limp body, pinpoint eye pupils, unresponsiveness to stimuli, as well as blue in the lips and fingers.
Naloxone is used to counteract the effects of opioids in the nervous system to prevent death and overdose. It works by binding to opioid receptors, then reversing and blocking opioids from entering the system. Zimmerli comments that “Naloxone use cannot be harmful due to the fact that only opioid receptors are affected.”
There are three types of Naloxone: injectable, auto-injectable and nasal spray. Each one is available to anyone in the state of Utah and can be obtained at any pharmacy. The injectable Naloxone can also be found for no cost at the Utah Naloxone Center as well as any Utah County library.
When using Naloxone, it is important to follow all directions of the packaging; Naloxone takes effect 1-3 minutes after injection and has a half life of 30-90 minutes. After injection, emergency

services must be as the half life of opioids greatly exceeds the half life of naloxone, which could result in a second overdose.
Zimmerli continued about the mission of Utah Naloxone, “Our mission is to provide broad overdose death prevention and infectious disease prevention services in the setting of a Wellness Center for people who use drugs. Our vision is to increase overall wellness for all individuals regardless of their life circumstances. We are committed to bringing health, empowerment, and safety to those affected by drug use, stigmatization and poverty.”
The Utah Naloxone organization can be contacted at (385) 495- 9050, or [email protected],You can also visit www.UtahNaloxone.org to learn more about naloxone use, and for additional material.