Special to The Ely Times

At a recent Opioid State Action Accountability Meeting in Carson City, Gov. Brian Sandoval said Nevada is the nation’s leader in the battle to control the opioid  abuse crisis but the battle is far from being won.

“We lose a Nevadan every day to this disease,” he said. The state has been taking major steps on the road to eradicating the problem. Access to a reliable, unlimited data remains a hindrance in fighting opioid problems.

Kyra Morgan and Julie Peek of the state Division of Public and Behavioral Health told task force members that based on 2016 data, the statewide opioid prescription rate is 87.5 pills per 100 people, and 66.5 pills per 100 people nationwide.

The areas where the most opioid pills are prescribed are Mineral and Nye counties, she said. There, the rate is about 158 pills per 100 people.

Hospitalizations also rose, but the data counting hospitalizations are based on how an emergency physician codes the visit.

Elyse Monroy, a policy analyst in the governor’s office, and Nevada’s Chief Medical Officer John DiMuro said Nevada is the national leader in part because the 2017 Legislature passed the governor’s Controlled Substances Abuse Prevention Act.

That law that takes in affect Jan. 1 requires providers to report overdoses and suspected OD’s to the public health agency, requires those who can prescribe opioids to register with the state.  It requires an initial assessment before a patient can be prescribed opioids, mandates an evidence based diagnosis of the patient after 30 days, after 90 days and after a year.  Those exams require a full diagnosis of the patient.

It also requires much more reporting by physicians, nurses, physician’s assistants and mandates reporting by veterinarians as well to keep an eye on who’s prescribing what and how much.  This new law also increases the availability of Naloxone, a drug that can reverse the effects of an opioid overdose within minutes.

Sandoval said the state has collected more than $9 million in grants from the federal government.

The PACE Coalition will be holding an Opioid Drug Awareness Community Training on Wednesday, Oct. 11, at 3 p.m. at the White Pine County Library.