With the 2017 Legislature behind them, members of the state’s Substance Abuse Workshop met Wednesday, Aug.2, to discuss what Attorney General Adam Laxalt described as an “all of the above approach” to dealing with illegal drug issues.
The primary focus of the group was on the growing opioid abuse crisis that is impacting every community in the state. Larry Pinson, executive director of the Nevada Board of Pharmacy, said Nevada has had a Prescription Monitoring Program for 21 years collecting data on patients receiving opiates and other drugs with serious potential for abuse as well as the on doctors that prescribe them. But he said Assembly Bill 474 and Senate Bill 59, passed by the 2017 Nevada Legislature, will strengthen reporting by medical and pharmaceutical professionals.
Drug addiction efforts in the United States have long been criticized as focusing too much on law enforcement and not enough on the root causes of drug abuse and treatment programs.
Pinson said that, over the years, the monitoring program has produced mounds of data including information about patients attempting to “doctor shop” by getting prescriptions from several doctors to feed their addiction as well as on which physicians are prescribing the most opioid medicines.
“The question is what do you do with that information,” he said.
Laxalt said law enforcement, medical providers and public health have too long operated in “silos,” not communicating with each other. He said they need to work together to get the situation under control.
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