Health & Wellness

Announcing DEBUNKED, a Local Podcast Dispelling Myths about the Opioid Crisis

USU student Timothy Light hosts the podcast, DEBUNKED.

The Tribal and Rural Opioid Initiative, housed in Utah State University’s Office of Health Equity and Community Engagement, is launching a new podcast. The 12 episode “DEBUNKED” podcast premiers Feb. 12 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 USU student Timothy Light and Health and Wellness USU Extension Specialist Sandra Sulzer, the first episode includes guests Heather Bush, Syringe Exchange Program coordinator at the Utah Department of Health, and 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, Sulzer said.  

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. 
The 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 and iTunes.   
About the 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 Emma Eccles Jones 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 Utah, particularly in its tribal and rural communities. The 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.


Sandra Sulzer
Health and Wellness Specialist


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