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Announcing DEBUNKED: A Local Podcast Dispelling Myths About the Opioid Crisis


The Tribal and Rural Opioid Initiative, housed in the Office of Health Equity and Community Engagement, is launching a new podcast. The 12 episode “Debunked” podcast premiers February 12, 2020 and will address opioid use myths.


Produced by Utah Public Radio, details about Debunked will be released on Access Utah and during UPR’s airing of NPR’s Morning Edition and All Things Considered. Hosted by Utah State student Timothy Light and Health & Wellness Utah Extension Specialist Dr. Sandra Sulzer, the first episode includes guests Heather Bush, Syringe Exchange Program Coordinator at the Utah Department of Health, and Dr. Erin Fanning Madden, Assistant professor in the Division of Epidemiology and biostatistics at University of New Mexico Health Science Center.

From 2013-2015, Utah had the seventh highest rate of opioid overdose deaths in the United States. Overdose deaths took more Utah lives than any other form of injury-related deaths, including those due to car accidents. Yet, common myths about treatment and recovery create barriers, preventing many people and communities from fully healing and addressing the crisis.

Treatment Best Practices: Harm Reduction

Harm reduction is a set of evidenced-based approaches, including Medication Assisted Treatment, that seek to minimize the harms of drug use for individuals and communities. These approaches reduce rates of HIV and Hepatitis, while also saving lives, and keeping people in treatment. Internationally, countries that use harm reduction interventions as their primary approach to addressing addiction have demonstrated enormous health and social benefits, including Canada, Portugal, Australia, and Switzerland.

Our Podcast

Every episode of DEBUNKED will address a new myth that perpetuates stigma around opioid use treatment and addiction. It will feature conversations with harm reduction experts, scientists, members of tribes, individuals in recovery, and local leaders. Episodes will be available on, UPR app, iTunes, and wherever you regularly access podcasts.

About Our Team

DEBUNKED is a project of the Tribal and Rural Opioid Initiative, housed in the Office of Health Equity and Community Engagement at the Utah State University College of Education and Human Services, in partnership with Cooperative Extension. The Tribal and Rural Opioid Initiative (TROI), promotes evidence-based best practices across the state of Utah in an attempt to reduce the burden of the opioid crisis in our home state, particularly in our tribal and rural communities. Our 12-person editorial board is made up of local individuals from tribal communities, harm reduction organizations, substance use treatment programs, Extension professionals, and public health experts. Utah Public Radio produces the podcast, with support from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration Rural Opioid Technical Assistance program.