In Nevada, about one person dies each day from a prescription opioid or heroin overdose. To address this growing problem, Governor Brian Sandoval is hosting a drug summit later this week. As Reno Public Radio’s Anh Gray reports a drug monitoring program will be one topic of discussion.
One of the featured speakers is Larry Pinson with the Nevada State Board of Pharmacy. He says the Nevada Prescription Monitoring Program tracks signs of abuse. Pinson says pharmacists are getting trained to identify medical providers with abnormal prescribing patterns. And once they do, they should, “contact the licensing board of that prescriber,” Pinson says.
The program also notifies pharmacists and prescribers when someone has been identified as “doctor shoppers.” Those are people going to several physicians to get prescriptions. Pinson says rather than criminalize an individual, an intervention officer reaches out with options.
‘Hey look, we’ve identified you. You’ve gone to all these doctors and you’ve been shopping around and that’s a felony,” Pinson explains of the approach. “So here are your choices: we can go to law enforcement and go that route, or if you work with us, we’ll do what we can to get you into treatment.”
Right now, the Nevada State Board of Pharmacy has only one intervention officer in Reno. Pinson says he would like to see more.