Attorney General Laxalt Forms Statewide Partnership to Facilitate Exchange of Statewide Information on Nevada's Opioid Crisis

March 8, 2018

Carson City, NV – Today, Nevada Attorney General Adam Paul Laxalt announced the formation of a Statewide Partnership on the Opioid Crisis. The Working Group’s first meeting will take place today, and will include members from local and federal law enforcement, prosecutors, experts in the medical field, elected officials, and judicial and educational representatives. The primary function of the statewide partnership is to make recommendations to the Attorney General’s Office and Nevada’s Statewide Opioid Coordinator on best practices for data sharing to combat the opioid crisis. This remains a critical gap in Nevada’s response to the crisis.

    With a group of interested stakeholders and selected experts from around the State, the Working Group is uniquely situated to understand how current opioid information is being exchanged, and work towards creating the best possible system of exchanging cross-agency information and real-time data. In October 2017, AG Laxalt appointed Terry Kerns as Nevada’s first Statewide Opioid Coordinator. Kerns, a retired Special Agent with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, has been working to bridge the gap between local law enforcement and state victims’ service providers to ensure a coordinated response to Nevada’s opioid crisis. Kerns’ position is funded through a federal grant from Nevada’s Department of Health and Human Services, which has specifically requested that the Attorney General’s Office and the Statewide Opioid Coordinator create the Statewide Partnership.

      Topics and presentations for the first Working Group meeting include: current drug trends in the State, information on Nevada’s Prescription Monitoring Drug Program, educational programs available for students and Nevada’s youth, sharing information between government agencies, overdose map systems, and information exchanges between first responders, law enforcement and public health agencies.

        “I commend Governor Sandoval for his leadership on this issue, and agree with his agencies that the sharing of information and statistics between healthcare providers and law enforcement will prevent opioid overdoses and save lives,” said Laxalt. “I believe in an all-of-the-above approach to the opioid crisis, and look forward to statewide communication and collaboration on this issue.”

          The following are members of the Statewide Partnership on the Opioid Crisis Working Group:

            Linda Aguire, Specialty Courts Coordinator for the Nevada Supreme Court

            Linda Anderson, Chief Deputy Attorney General for the Office of the Nevada Attorney General

            Patrick Brodsky, Assistant Special Agent in Charge for the Las Vegas FBI

            Marissa Brown, Clinical Director for the Nevada Hospital Association

            Daniel Burkhead, Pain Management Physician and Medical Director for Innovative Pain Care Center

            Patty Cafferata, Special Assistant Attorney General for the Office of the Nevada Attorney General

            Steve Canavero, Superintendent for the Department of Education

            Keith Carter, Director of High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area for the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department

            Pat Conmay, Chief of Investigations for the Nevada Department of Public Safety

            Bob Crowell, Mayor of Carson City

            Kevin Dick, District Health Officer for Washoe County

            Rebecca Druckman, Deputy District Attorney for Washoe County

            James Dzurenda, Director for the Nevada Department of Corrections

            Bret Frey, Physician and President of Western Provider Services

            John Fudenberg, Coroner for the Clark County Office of the Corner-Medical Examiner

            Carolyn Goodman, Mayor of the City of Las Vegas

            Heidi Gustafson, Advocacy Development for the Foundation for Recovery

            Joseph Iser, Chief Health Officer for Southern Nevada Health District

            Mark Jackson, District Attorney for Douglas County

            Kitty Jung, Commissioner for the Washoe County District Board of Health

            Terry Kerns, Substance Abuse Law Enforcement Coordinator for the Office of the Nevada Attorney General

            Laura Knight, Chief Medical Examiner and Coroner for Washoe County

            Stacie Mathewson, member of the public

            Kyra Morgan, Chief Biostatistician for the Nevada Department of Health and Human Services 

            Daniel Neill, Special Agent in Charge for the Drug Enforcement Administration

            Christine Payson, Project Coordinator of High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas for the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department

              Adam Porath, Ambulatory Pharmacy Manager for Renown Health

              Ben Reed, Chief of the Elko County Police Department

              Ken Riddle, Executive Director for the Nevada Fire Chiefs Association

              Jeff Segal, Bureau Chief for the Office of the Nevada Attorney General

              Steve Shell, CEO of Behavioral Care Hospital

              Anthony Slonim, President and CEO of Renown Health

              Tina Talim, Chief Deputy District Attorney for Clark County

              Robert Talley, Executive Director for the Nevada Dental Association

              Mason Van Houweling, CEO of the University Medical Center

              Stephanie Woodard, Senior Advisor on Behavioral Health for the Nevada Department of Health and Human Services

              Jim Wright, Director of the Nevada Department of Public Safety

              Dave Wuest, Deputy Executive Secretary for the Board of Pharmacy

              Mike Wurm, Executive Director for the Boys and Girls Club of Truckee Meadows

              Cyndi and Edward Yenick, members of the public and co-founders of the Bub Hugs Foundation

                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 June 2017, AG Laxalt announced an ongoing bipartisan investigation with a majority of attorneys general to evaluate whether manufacturers have engaged in unlawful practices in the marketing and sale of opioids. The attorneys general are investigating what role the opioid manufacturers may have played in creating or prolonging this epidemic. In September 2017, AG Laxalt and other attorneys general issued subpoenas to pharmaceutical manufacturers and distributers related to the ongoing 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.

                                In 2016, Governor Sandoval convened a Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention Summit to combat Nevada’s prescription drug abuse epidemic. The Summit culminated in a summary of findings and recommendations that outlined a holistic approach to addressing Nevada’s opioid epidemic. AG Laxalt’s “Prescription for Addiction” initiative incorporated key elements of Governor Sandoval’s recommendations, among others.