Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak on Wednesday opened a two-day Opioid Response Summit in Las Vegas, saying the Silver State is “moving the dial on opioid addiction.”
“We all know, we have seen firsthand, opioid misuse is a serious issue in our community, in our state and in our country,” the governor said in his opening remarks.
“Progress has been made,” he continued, including with a program for prescription drug monitoring that allows a more focused response to the crisis.
Following Sisolak’s remarks, Stephanie Woodard with Nevada’s Division of Public and Behavioral Health noted that overdose deaths in the state have been declining, dropping from a high of 460 in 2011 to 356 last year — the lowest number since 2010.
But the opioid crisis is evolving. Woodard said that synthetic opioids including Fentanyl — which is 50 to 100 times more potent than heroin — are posing a greater threat, accounting for 56 deaths in Clark County alone last year.
Heroin also has made a return. There were 102 heroin-related deaths in the county last year, up from 19 in 2010.
The summit is designed to provide “an opportunity for health professionals, law enforcement, community partners, and other stakeholders to come together to review the successes and learn what partners are doing in this fight for Nevada communities,” according to a news release from the Nevada Division of Public and Behavioral Health, one of the event’s sponsors.
Discussions from the conference can “grow and evolve into the next steps in this important fight,” Sisolak said.
This is the second summit of its type in Nevada. The first, in summer of 2016, drew 500 participants, featured presentations from local, state and federal agencies, and influenced state legislation in 2017 related to drug overdoses and prescribing and using drugs.