Governor's Opioid Task Force Meets for Third Time
Members of the Governor's Opioid State Action Accountability Task Force met Tuesday morning to give updates on the progress they've made over the past few months.
Members of the Governor's Opioid State Action Accountability Task Force met Tuesday morning to give updates on the progress they've made over the past few months. This task force has been one of Governor Sandoval's top priorities in the last couple of years. Today marked the group's third meeting.
"The first two meetings were about what we we're going to do and now we're starting to see some results," said Mike Willden, the Governor's Chief of Staff. "For example, today we got a great report from from the pharmacy board about our prescription drug monitoring programs, and the report said they'd seem opioid prescribing down about 31 percent over the same period last year."
Opioid-related deaths are also down, but there are still plenty of concerns.
"The one that concerns me is the opioid visits to the ER and the hospitalization visits related to opioids," Willden said. "They've been climbing steadily for the last 7-8 years and we need to focus on that; we need to look at why why we can't get out in front of that with some of the community programs we talked about today."
There's been a push to keep these kinds of drugs off the streets, like take back days and different disposal programs. While committee members say they're seeing some positive progress, they still have a lot of work to do.
"So working with the medical community and really helping them to better understand what the evidence is, talking about alternatives to opioids for pain management is a big strategy," said Stephanie Woodard of the Nevada Department of Health and Human Services. "As well as ensuring adequate access to treatment for individuals who have addiction disorders - not just opioid, but addiction in general."
A concern to some who spoke during public comment is that the pendulum has swung too far, and the people who need these kinds of drugs to function can't get them anymore - an issue the task force says it's taking very seriously.
"The medical boards and pharmacy board have been integral in making sure those issues are addressed on an individual basis and from a population perspective. We're doing a lot to work with prescribes to ensure those individuals that need these medications can access them and prescribers feel confident in being able to continue to prescribe," Woodard said.
The next meeting of this committee will be in October. The idea is to continue to look at what's working and what's not and bring some of these findings to legislators during the next session.