Senator has missed opportunities to solve crisis

Thousands of students from across the state were bused to downtown Salt Lake City on Friday to hear a unified message — opioids kill.

The event, Sen. Mike Lee’s annual Utah Solutions Summit, brought together top law enforcement officials, addiction survivors, and celebrities to help steer them away from an epidemic that killed 360 Utahns last year.

Good for the senator for doing it. Undoubtedly those in attendance came away with a new appreciation for the dangers of the drug and hopefully lives will be saved by the message they heard.

Education and prevention are indeed important — but it’s only a small piece of a much larger, comprehensive battle against opioid addiction.

That includes treatment, emergency services, law enforcement intervention aimed at getting opioid users’ help and shutting down suppliers. And it takes money. Lots of it.

Carbon County is ground zero for the opioid epidemic in Utah and is among the hardest-hit regions in the nation. Last month, Price received $150,000 for a detox and sober living facility and $46,000 to help get patients to access to treatment services. The county got $80,000 to buy ambulance equipment to respond to the all-too-common drug overdoses. Sevier County got $110,000 for similar equipment.