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Know Your Script campaign is driving outreach in Utah’s mining counties

Local coal miners featured on a Savage semi-truck trailer as part of Four Corners Behavioral Health's Know Your Script prescription drug awareness campaign.
courtesy Janarie Cammans
Local coal miners featured on a Savage semi-truck trailer as part of Four Corners Behavioral Health's Know Your Script prescription drug awareness campaign.

On a per capita basis, southeastern Utah saw a higher rate of opioid deaths than Salt Lake County, according to 2018-2021 data from the Utah Department of Health & Human Services.

With the impact hitting hard in rural communities, outreach teams are providing messaging in a way that speaks to the community – specifically in Utah's mining heartland of Carbon and Emery counties.

Four Corners Behavioral Health provides substance abuse prevention, treatment and recovery services to Emery, Carbon and Grand counties. The organization was recently awarded a grant to introduce the Know Your Script campaign. The central focus is to create awareness of prescription safety, including safe use, storage, alternatives and proper disposal.

“We recognized that a lot of the opioid problems come from prescriptions,” said prevention coalition coordinator Alysa Potter. “And if we get down to the root, that comes from a lot of job-related injuries and the prescriptions are part of their treatment.”

The campaign focuses on the notion that everyone knows a coal miner or is related to one. Messaging with the faces of local miners appears on 10 semi-trucks traveling throughout southeastern Utah. Potter likened them to traveling billboards.

“It consists of six local coal miners, two of them being current miners in Carbon and Emery County. And then the other four are retired coal miners in Carbon County coal mines.” 

The trucks haul coal from several different mines to Utah power plants and are provided through a partnership with Savage, a Midvale-based logistics company.

“These messages that are on our trucks are really just to help create awareness about the importance of prescription drug safety and to point people in the right direction where they can get the resources for the help they need,” said Jeff Hymas, Savage’s director of public affairs.

The trucks also list the resources that are available to those who need help with opioid addiction and prescription drug safety.

“There's probably not very many people who aren't affected in some way by drug addiction, whether it's themselves, a family member, a close friend,” Hymas added. “I myself have a family member who was into drug addiction and was finally able to get the help he needed and now actually works in recovery. So I think we all have a similar story, at least most of us.”

And while the abuse of prescription medication isn't exclusive to the coal industry, Potter said it is a large enough industry that the messaging would resonate within the counties.

“Rural communities have especially seen the negative effects of it. And so living here and seeing our community struggle and wanting to be able to help, even if it's just a small part of getting us on the right track and in the direction, the opposite direction of where we've been headed has been huge.

Curtis Booker is KUER’s growth, wealth and poverty reporter in Central Utah.
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