On June 7, Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval joined with four other bipartisan state governors in signing a letter asking for federal support for state-and local-level initiatives to address the nationwide opioid crisis.
As reported in the Las Vegas Review-Journal, the letter was addressed to House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.
Along with Sandoval, it was signed by Gov. Steve Bullock, D-Mont., Charlie Backer, R-Mass., and Kate Brown, D-Ore.
The governors expressed support for nine health care-related bills introduced in the House, including the Preventing Overdoses While in Emergency Rooms Act, or POWER Act, which would mandate follow-up care for patients admitted to emergency rooms for an overdose, and the Eliminating Opioid Related Infectious Diseases Act of 2018, which would expand the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s injection drug use infection surveillance program.
Eureka County Sheriff Keith Logan said, “While we haven’t faced much of that, I am was aware it is a growing problem across the nation and a definite uptick in that kind of narcotic use. It probably is happening here also, but so far hasn’t been encountered in a public setting.”
Many Sheriff’s departments nationwide are using the drug Narcan (naloxone HCI) for help with suspected opioid overdose.
Logan said, “We are using it. We purchased some before, but it expired before we had to use it. Now we have some new dosages available to us and we are prepared to use it if necessary. We have had this drug available to us for a couple of years.”
He noted,”With the amount of folks we have driving through, stopping here or even living here, we could easily have a problem with it at anytime.”
NARCAN® (naloxone HCl) Nasal Spray is the first and only FDA-approved nasal form of naloxone for the emergency treatment of a known or suspected opioid overdose.
NARCAN® Nasal Spray counteracts the life-threatening effects of opioid overdose.
Sheriff’s in other rural Nevada counties have also expressed support for the governors letter.
Lincoln County Sheriff Kerry Lee said he thought asking for federal support for state-and local level initiatives would mean helping cover the expense the opioid epidemic could potentially be. “Back in the midwest where these things happen on a daily basis in small counties, it could literally break the budget. If autopsies would be done on everyone, the expense incurred would be overwhelming. If Lincoln County, for example, had even a few of those every month, we would blow through our budget.”
Logan said Narcan is a very expensive medication. “It didn’t used to be, but with this nationwide problem and the need for it, the expense has greatly increased. That’s where these funds could easily help us. It helps with education and counseling within your community.”
Narcan does not have a long shelf life and Logan said, “It’s something you don’t necessarily budget for and you cannot predict when you are going to need this.”