Summit In The Works To Address Nevada's Prescription Drug Abuse Problem

Jun 21, 2016

Photo from fda.gov.

Gov. Brian Sandoval and nearly two dozen experts gathered in Carson City on Tuesday to examine the prescription drug epidemic that’s sweeping Nevada. 

Last month, a Reno doctor and eight others were charged with running an alleged drug ring involving prescription painkillers like oxycodone. Gov. Sandoval says this incident shed new light on an existing problem.

“Recent events here in Northern Nevada have brought focus to the problem yet again,” Sandoval says. “That begs the question, ‘Can we do more?'”

Lawmakers and the heads of various state medical and community agencies attended the planning meeting to discuss policies that would curb abuse.

Nevada State Senator Patricia Farley from Las Vegas is on the planning committee.

“I’m the older sister to my brother who has been addicted to prescription drugs, mostly opioids, for over 14 years. I’m also the aunt to my niece and my nephew who were both born addicted to opioids,” Farley says. “I’ve also personally struggled trying to find help for him and his family and his children, and so I’m very aware of the limited amount or resources and how much this can affect a family.”

During public comments, Catherine O’Mara spoke on behalf of the Nevada State Medical Association. She says drug roundup programs collecting unused medication should be expanded throughout the state.

“And this is particularly important because we know that 70 percent of those adversely affected by opioids are not the ones receiving the prescription,” O’Mara says.

The meeting lasted several hours with testimony from people about their personal struggle with addiction. This planning session is in preparation for a two-day summit in August.