Thursday, September 24, 2015

Utahns Urged to Rid Homes of Leftover Medications

(Salt Lake, UT) – Utah ranks 5th highest in the nation for drug overdose deaths and a campaign is underway to safely dispose of the kinds of drugs that are killing people. The Utah Department of Health (UDOH) is urging Utahns to take advantage of the National Take Back Initiative on Saturday, September 26th to clean out medicine cabinets and safely dispose of leftover prescription medications. 

Preliminary data showed that in 2014, 344 individuals died from a prescription drug overdose in Utah; an average of 29 people each month.  Most of the prescription drug overdoses (84.0%) involved prescription pain medications. The most common prescription pain medications involved in these deaths are oxycodone, methadone, hydrocodone, and fentanyl. Over the past decade, prescription pain medications have been responsible for more drug deaths in our state than all other drug categories, including heroin and cocaine, combined.

“This is a very real epidemic, and it warrants a strong public health response," said Anna Fondario, UDOH Injury Epidemiologist. “These deaths can be prevented. Educational programs for those at greatest risk, improved clinical care, ongoing data collection efforts to inform prevention and intervention programs, and strong policies have been shown to be effective in curbing this crisis."

The 2014 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance Survey found that 68.3% of Utahns who used prescription pain medications in the past year reported that they kept leftover prescription pain medications in their homes. Additionally, 74.3% of Utahns who used prescription pain medications that were not prescribed to them reported getting them from a family member or friend. When improperly stored or disposed of, leftover medications can be dangerous.

The National Take Back Initiative is a nationwide event sponsored by the Drug Enforcement Administration to encourage people to properly dispose of leftover medications. Take-back events will be held across the state from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, September 26th. To find a take-back event, visit 

Permanent collection bins area also available in locations across the state for safe and legal disposal. To find a permanent disposal site, visit Use Only As Directed at

Prescription overdose deaths can be prevented. Tips include:
  • Never take prescription pain medications that are not prescribed to you.
  • Never take prescription pain medications more often or in higher doses than prescribed.
  • Never drink alcoholic beverages while taking prescription pain medications.
  • Never share prescription pain medications with anyone. Besides being dangerous, it’s also a felony.
  • Taking prescription pain medications with other depressants, such as anti-anxiety medications, sleep aids, or cold medicine, can be dangerous.
  • Tell your healthcare provider about ALL medicines and supplements you take.
To learn how to prevent prescription drug misuse, abuse, and overdose, visit or    

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Media Contact:
Anna Fondario
Violence & Injury Prevention Program
(o) 801-538-6201 (m) 801-499-1074

Friday, September 11, 2015

Safe Kids Coalitions Offer Free Car Seat Checks: September 13-19 is National Child Passenger Safety Week

(Salt Lake City, UT) –Safe Kids Utah in partnership with the Utah Department of Health and the Utah Department of Transportation urge parents and caregivers to make sure their car seats and booster seats are registered and properly installed.  Road injuries are the leading cause of preventable deaths and injuries to children in the United States. Correctly used child safety seats can reduce the risk of death by as much as 71 percent.

“Registering car seats and boosters is a simple, easy way for parents to stay updated on their children’s safety seats,” said Cambree Applegate, Safe Kids Utah Coordinator. “By registering, if there are any recalls on the product, the company will be able to notify the buyer. In doing so, many children’s lives may be saved.” 

Car seat checkpoints offer drivers the chance to receive assistance and guidance from certified child passenger safety (CPS) technicians regarding proper installation of their car seats and booster seats. “Car seats are complicated. We know parents and caregivers want what is best for their kids,” said Applegate. “Taking a few minutes out of your day to get your car seats checked is a simple way to ensure your children are travelling safely in the car.”

Free car seat checks will be held across Utah during September.  Each event will have certified CPS technicians on site to help parents ensure their car seats are installed correctly.  Technicians will also talk with parents and caregivers about which car seats and booster seats will work best as their child grows.  Events will be held:
  • Friday, Sept. 11 – Car seat checkpoint from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the Murray Fresh Market (5632 South 900 East, Murray, UT 84121).
  • Tuesday, Sept. 15 – Car seat class from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. at the Weber-Morgan Health Department (477 23rd Street, Ogden). Call 801-399-7186 or email to make an appointment.
  • Wednesday, Sept. 16 – Car seat checkpoint from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Anna Smith Elementary (731 Aria Blvd., Wendover).
  • Thursday, Sept. 17 – Car seat checkpoint from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. at the Andy’s Market (515 North Main, Monroe).
  • Thursday, Sept. 17 – Car seat checkpoint from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the Hansen Motors (1175 South Commerce Way, Brigham City).
  • Thursday, Sept. 17 – Car seat checkpoint from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Summit County Health Department (650 Round Valley Drive, Park City).  Call 435-333-1500 to make an appointment.
  • Thursday, Sep. 17 – Car seat checkpoint from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. at Riverton Hospital, Primary Children’s Outpatient Clinic (3741 West 12600 South, Riverton)
  • Saturday, Sept. 19 – Car seat checkpoint from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Davis Hospital (1600 West Antelope Drive, Layton).
  • Saturday, Sept. 19 – Car seat checkpoint from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. at Mountain View Hospital (1000 East 100 North, Payson).
  • Monday, Sept. 21 – Preparedness Fair with car seat information from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Wasatch High School (930 South 500 East, Heber).
  • Thursday, Sept. 24 – Car seat checkpoint from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Northwest Recreation Center (1300 West 300 North, Salt Lake City).
  • Friday, Sept. 25 – Car seat checkpoint from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. at the Moab City Market (425 South Main Street, Moab).
  • Saturday, Sept. 26 – Car seat checkpoint from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the K-Mart in Richfield (1080 South Highway 118, Richfield).
  • Tuesday, Sept. 29 – Car seat checkpoint from 3 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. at the Weber-Morgan Health Department (477 23rd Street, Ogden). Call 801-399-7186 or email to make an appointment.
  • Wednesday, Sept. 30 – Car seat checkpoint from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. at Droubay Chevrolet Buick (348 West Main Street, Delta).
For more information on which car seat is right for your child, visit

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Media Contact:
Cambree Applegate
Safe Kids Utah Coordinator
(o) 801-538-6852 (m) 435-862-8773

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Utah Salons Love Babies: Stylists join in statewide effort to reduce drinking in pregnancy

(Salt Lake City, UT) – When a woman drinks alcohol during pregnancy, so does her baby. The same amount of alcohol that i¬¬s in her blood gets to the baby's blood through the umbilical cord. “But there’s a critical difference in how that alcohol affects the fetus,” said Lynn Tanner, Chair, Utah Fetal Alcohol Coalition. “Mom’s liver works hard to break down the alcohol, but baby’s liver can’t, and the birth defects caused by drinking last a lifetime.”

That’s why the Utah Department of Health (UDOH), Utah Fetal Alcohol Coalition (UFAC) and Utah salons are observing Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) Awareness Day with the We Love Babies campaign. Participating salons will receive materials that explain to hair stylists and nail technicians the dangers of alcohol in pregnancy -- so they can bring up the subject with their clients. “Women and men know they can talk about almost anything with their stylist,” said Becky Sorensen, a stylist and manager with Great Looks Beauty in Sandy. “When the Coalition asked us to participate, we didn’t hesitate and are ready to start the conversation.”

Alcohol is one of the most dangerous substances a woman can use in pregnancy. The more mom drinks, the more serious the effects on the fetus. Heavy alcohol use can cause:
  • Sleep and nursing problems
  • Vision and hearing problems
  • Learning and behavior problems
  • Intellectual disabilities
  • Speech and language delays
  • Attention deficit/hyperactivity
  • Permanent brain damage
  • Problems with the heart, kidneys, eyes, ears, and more
The most disabling of all alcohol-related problems are Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders, or FASDs. Each year, as many as 40,000 babies are born with an FASD in the U.S., costing up to $6 billion annually in institutional and medical costs. Children with FASDs may need care from a range of health care professionals, such as psychologists, speech pathologists, social workers, nutritionists, and surgeons.

“Unfortunately,  many woman say they were told by their doctor that a few glasses of wine or beer a week is okay in pregnancy,” said Julia Robertson, Program Manager for the UDOH MotherToBaby Pregnancy Risk Line. “But there is no known safe amount of alcohol when you’re pregnant.”  When women call MotherTo Baby worried about the baby and upset because they recently drank alcohol,  Robertson  says, “We tell those moms that the important thing is to stop drinking now to increase their odds of having a healthy baby.”

Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder Day begins worldwide annually at 9:09 a.m. on Sept. 9 — the 9th hour and  9th minute of the 9th day of the 9th month — to remind moms not to drink during the nine months of pregnancy,

We Love Babies Week in Utah is September 8-12.  In addition to talking about alcohol in pregnancy, participating stylists will give clients information packets and goodie bags.

The UDOH is a member of UFAC. For more information on FASD and the Coalition, visit


Media Contact:
Cyndi Bemis
Education and Outreach Coordinator
MotherToBaby Utah
(o) 801-538-6924 (m) 801-550-4228