Catch-Up: Utah School of Alcoholism and Other Drug Dependencies

So many things happened this summer, and school started so busy so quickly that I have tons of catching up to do! 

Out of the many adventures I had, one of the most life-changing ones was my trip to Salt Lake City, Utah for the Utah School of Alcoholism and Other Drug Dependencies

It is a whole week of lectures about the pathophysiology of addiction, anonymous meetings (alcoholics, narcotics, al-anon), and speakers. There are so many disciplines in attendance (pharmacy, medicine, social work, etc.) and each have their individual sessions along with large sessions where everyone comes together. 

The pharmacy section is hosted in partnership with APhA-ASP. The UNC chapter placed 3rd place nationally as part of the Generation Rx Community Outreach Project, and each of the top 3 schools sponsored 2 students to attend the meeting. I was one of the lucky 2 to represent our school! Five students total attended from UNC. It was an honor to be a part of this session and to be surrounded by pharmacists in recovery from addiction, and fellow student pharmacists eager to learn about the disease. 

I stayed in a dorm for the first time in many years! It was pretty chilly at night, since the air is so dry that it doesn't retain any heat. The temperature rose tons once the sun came out again, though! 

The walk every morning from the dorms to the lectures was extremely beautiful. As a Floridian, my eyes still widen at the site of mountains. And while North Carolina has the Appalachian, there's no comparison to the Utah mountains! The suspension bridge on the way makes for a perfect photo op. 

Unique to the pharmacy programming, the Generation Rx nationally ranked schools presented their year to inspire other chapters and share their successes. It was tons of fun creating a poster and developing a presentation in front of student pharmacists from all over the country. I'm incredibly proud of our school and the Generation Rx leaders who made the project one of the best! 

One of the biggest treats was a performance from the Utes, a Native American tribe from Utah. Check out the video of the finale - it's amazing! 

This week opened my eyes to the fact that addiction is a disease, not a choice. Addiction is a disease with no cure, just like any other chronic disease (hypertension, diabetes, asthma, etc.). It's our responsibility to be informed about addiction to create a movement of erasing its negative stigma. 

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