LAS VEGAS (KXNT) – Nevada Attorney General Adam Laxalt issued the following statement Thursday after the Interim Finance Committee’s unanimous, bipartisan approval of his office’s “Prescription for Addiction” opioid initiative to combat the use, abuse and misuse of prescription drugs in Nevada:
“On average, one Nevadan dies per day from drug overdose, and opioid-related overdoses have become the lead cause of death in America. My office’s ‘Prescription for Addiction’ opioid initiative creates an opportunity to face the epidemic that touches our families, friends and loved ones, and to promote prevention in Nevada. Today the Legislature approved this initiative that includes the purchase of drug incinerators, the distribution of Nalaxone to first responders, funding allocated toward prevention and education efforts, and the creation of an investigative position to assist with federal efforts to curb opioid abuse. I am grateful to our Legislature for their support of this critical issue facing our State and nation, and am hopeful that these efforts will make a much needed difference in our communities.”
The opioid initiative incorporates key elements addressed and recommended in Governor Sandoval’s Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention Plan, and by the Center for Disease Control, National Governor’s Association, as well as experts, as paramount to success in ending the opioid epidemic. The five points address priority areas including:
*Provide one full time dedicated criminal investigator to be assigned to the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s new opioid task force created in response to Nevada’s opioid epidemic.
*Purchase and install five drug disposal incinerators to be placed strategically in secure law enforcement locations throughout the state to incinerate prescription and illicit drugs seized or received through a take-back program.
*Grant approximately $500,000 to after school prevention and education programs concerning drug and opioid abuse.
*Allocate $250,000 to the Department of Health and Human Services to purchase Naloxone/Narcan for local law enforcement agencies and first responders to be used to reverse the effects of opioid overdoses. This medication is needed to prevent opioid overdoses and save lives.
*Allocate approximately $675,000 to the Department of Health and Human Services to strengthen the efforts of statewide partners currently working on prevention and education efforts related to opioid addiction.
Funding for the initiative results from a $5.3 million deceptive trade practice settlement with Volkswagen from June, 2016. Through support and collaboration with other stakeholders such as the Governor’s Office, law enforcement agencies, behavioral health professional and educators, AG Laxalt’s office will provide these funds in support of a five point plan to help combat opioid abuse within Nevada.
In June, 2017, AG Laxalt announced an ongoing bipartisan investigation with a majority of attorneys general to evaluate whether manufacturers have engaged in unlawful practices in the marketing and sale of opioids. The attorneys general are investigating what role the opioid manufacturers may have played in creating or prolonging this epidemic. In September, 2017, AG Laxalt and other attorneys general issued subpoenas to pharmaceutical manufacturers and distributors related to the ongoing investigation.
Opioid abuse and misuse results in behavioral and biological health issues that affect people, families and communities, and costs the United States more than $740 billion in crime, lost work productivity and health care each year. Nationwide and in Nevada, opioids, prescription and illicit, are the main driver of drug overdose deaths. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, opioids were involved in 33,091 nationwide deaths in 2015, and opioid overdoses have quadrupled since 1999. In 2016, Nevada was ranked as the sixth highest state for the number of milligrams of opioids distributed per adult according to a study by the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA).