(Robert Davis) – Opioid overdoses in Nevada grew by 55% and accounted for 788 total deaths in 2020, according to a state report.
Nevada’s Overdose Data to Action (OD2A) program, which oversees the surveillance of opioid overdoses in the state, compiled the report using data from the Nevada Unintentional Drug Overdose Reporting System.
According to the report, half of Nevada’s overdose decedents had an underlying mental health issue while 75% identified non-alcohol-related substance misuse problems.
At the same time, the number of overdose death among people aged 25 years and younger nearly tripled from 38 in 2019 to 106 in 2020.
OD2A said in a media release that Naloxone, an antidote for opioid overdoses, is available for free throughout the state.
Nevada also has a good samaritan overdose law on its books which protects individuals who seek medical assistance for a person experiencing a drug-related medical emergency.
Over the past three years, OD2A has dispensed nearly 19,000 Naloxone kits which saved more than 1,200 lives, according to the program’s website. One-third of the distributed kits went to first responders.
Earlier this year, the state announced a $45 million settlement with McKinsey & Company for its role in advising drug companies that manufacture opiods.
Federal law enforcement agencies have been working to stem the flow of fake prescription medication across the country. Last week, the Drug Enforcement Agency published a Public Safety Alert about the rise of fentanyl in popular opioid medications like oxycodone, hydrocodone, and alprazolam.
“The only safe medications are ones prescribed by a trusted medical professional and dispensed by a licensed pharmacist. Any pills that do not meet this standard are unsafe and potentially deadly,” the alert said.
Robert Davis | The Center Square contributor