September 13, 2018
Carson City, NV – Nevada Attorney General Adam Paul Laxalt announced that his office submitted a bill for the upcoming Legislative Session that aims to help public health, first responders and law enforcement more effectively address Nevada’s opioid crisis. The bill results from AG Laxalt’s work on his Statewide Partnership on the Opioid Crisis, a group that works closely with Nevada’s Substance Abuse Law Enforcement Coordinator on best practices for data sharing to combat the opioid crisis. The group consists of members from local and federal law enforcement, prosecutors, medical experts, elected officials, and judicial and educational representatives.
The proposed bill would authorize first responders to report suspected pre-hospital drug overdoses in real time using an information technology platform called the Overdose Detection Mapping Application (ODMAP). ODMAP was created by the Washington/Baltimore High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area to detect, track and log overdoses to facilitate real time drug overdose information sharing between law enforcement agencies fire departments, and emergency medical services.
This real-time drug overdose reporting will allow law enforcement and medical professionals to identify spikes in overdoses, even allowing geolocation of such spikes. Drug overdose events can be investigated regarding their cause, origin and the geographic spread of such overdoses. With this information, public health agencies can work to prevent additional overdoses through the implementation of appropriate response plans. Furthermore, law enforcement can use a variety of investigative methods available to trace the overdoses back to drug dealers, larger scale distributors, and ultimately, to the drugs’ primary sources, including organized criminal syndicates.
Nevada’s Substance Abuse Law Enforcement Coordinator has been working with local jurisdictions to offer ODMAP, and thus far, 18 Nevada agencies have committed to using this system including: the Carson City Sheriff’s Office, the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office, the Fallon Police Department, the Humboldt County Hospital District, the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office, Las Vegas Fire and Rescue, the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, the Nevada Department of Health and Human Services, the Nevada Department of Public Safety, the Nevada Department of Public Safety Investigations Division, the Nevada Department of Wildlife, the Nevada High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area, the Nevada Office of the Attorney General, the Nevada Threat Analysis Center, the North Las Vegas Fire Department, the Southern Nevada Health District, the Washoe County Sheriff’s Office, and the Winnemucca Police Department. Additional jurisdictions have also expressed interest in implementing ODMAP in their respective jurisdictions. ODMAP is a free system that will be provided to these agencies. As part of the implementation, an overdose spike response plan is being formulated and has State-Targeted Response grant funds to design and implement the plan.
“Sharing information and statistics in real-time will help law enforcement better respond to and prevent drug overdoses in our communities,” said Attorney General Adam Laxalt. “I am encouraged by the tremendous amount of work that my office has already accomplished to bring ODMAP to our communities, and am hopeful that the Legislature will approve this bill to promote statewide collaboration on this important issue.”
Nevada’s Substance Abuse Law Enforcement Coordinator Terry Kerns, who is trained as a medical professional and spent a career with the FBI, added, “The cohesiveness between public health, healthcare and the first responder communities to address the drug overdose crisis has been outstanding. Their number one priority is to save lives. I personally commend the agencies who have committed to the use of an overdose mapping surveillance system as a proactive mechanism to tackle this issue in their respective communities.”
AG Laxalt has been actively working to combat the opioid epidemic since his inauguration, and continues to chair Nevada’s Substance Abuse Working Group. AG Laxalt’s Office has actively worked to combat the opioid crisis in a number of ways, including the creation of statewide initiatives and programs, and participation in a national opioid investigation.
In October of 2017, Nevada’s Interim Finance Committee unanimously approved AG Laxalt’s “Prescription for Addiction” opioid initiative to combat the use, abuse and misuse of prescription drugs in Nevada. The opioid initiative incorporates key elements addressed and recommended in Governor Sandoval’s Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention Plan, and by the Center for Disease Control, National Governor’s Association, as well as experts, as paramount to success in ending the opioid epidemic. The five points address priority areas including:
- Provide one full-time dedicated criminal investigator to be assigned to the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s new opioid task force created in response to Nevada’s opioid epidemic.
- Purchase and install five drug disposal incinerators to be placed strategically in secure law enforcement locations throughout the State to incinerate prescription and illicit drugs seized or received through a take-back program.
- Grant approximately $500,000 to after-school prevention and education programs concerning drug and opioid abuse.
- Allocate $250,000 to the Department of Health and Human Services to purchase Naloxone/Narcan for local law enforcement agencies and first responders to be used to reverse the effects of opioid overdoses. This medication is needed to prevent opioid overdoses and save lives.
- Allocate approximately $675,000 to the Department of Health and Human Services to strengthen the efforts of statewide partners currently working on prevention and education efforts related to opioid addiction.
State law permits the Office of the Nevada Attorney General to submit up to 20 bills to the Legislature for consideration and approval. Over the last two Legislative Sessions, 16 bills from the Office of the Nevada Attorney General’s bill package were passed with bipartisan support and signed into law.