Opioids are a class of drugs that include:
Rx Drugs – Doctors prescribe opioids (prescription opioids), which are commonly used to treat pain, but these pills are highly addictive. It is essential to consider the risks of using prescription opioids as they can result in misuse, opioid use disorder (addiction), overdoses, or death.
- Common types of prescribed opioids include:
- Oxycodone (OxyContin)
- Hydrocodone (Vicodin)
Synthetic Opioids – Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid pain reliever for patients that have developed a resistance to other less potent opiates. However, it is extremely powerful than other opioids, and when used for non-medical reasons, its risk increases due to the potency. In the last few years, the east coast has seen a rise in mixing illegally made and distributed fentanyl with heroin, which has led to a spike in overdose deaths.
Heroin – Heroin is an illegal form of opioid which is processed from morphine. This means its effect is usually fast-acting and creates a short but intense high, making it highly addictive. Due to the unpredictable quality and purity of heroin, the nation has also seen an increase in overdose deaths.
The Three Waves
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) lays out the opioid epidemic that continues to grip our nation in three waves:
- Wave 1 started in the 1990s with an increase of opioid prescriptions and overdose deaths from these pills
- Wave 2 began in 2010 with overdose deaths due to heroin
- Wave 3 came in 2013 with overdose deaths involving illicitly manufactured fentanyl and synthetic opioids
Opioid overdoses continue to claim lives, and it is imperative that the battle against opioids remain strong. Here in Clark County, we are beginning to see fentanyl and its effect on the community. As this wave continues to cross the nation from the east coast to the west coast, Nevada must become aware of whom it’s affecting and how we can help. In 2018 alone, “opioids were involved in approximately 70% (46,802) of drug overdose deaths across the nation”. The number of drug overdose deaths is still four times higher than in 1999, but since 2017, there has been a gradual decrease in overdose deaths.
Youth Risk Behavior Survey (Nevada)
The opioid epidemic does not discriminate. Many of us know someone who has lost their life to this public health crisis. In order to better understand the implications this epidemic has on our community, the Youth Risk Behavior Survey is conducted across the state of Nevada every two years. This survey is administered to both middle and high school students and the local data collected informs decision-makers on a variety of issues, including substance misuse amongst youth.
The percentage of high school students who reported lifetime use of prescription pain medicine without a doctors’ prescription or differently than prescribed overall was 18.8 % statewide. This 4% increase since 2017 (14.8%), is due to the growing amount of opioid prescriptions that are being written every year and flooding our community. In 2018, Nevada providers wrote 55.5 opioid prescriptions for every 100 persons compared to the average U.S. rate of 51.4 prescriptions.
- In 2019, 19.2% of high school students in Clark County reported lifetime use of prescription pain medicine without a doctor’s prescription or differently than prescribed (depicted in graph).
- In 2019, 17.4% of high school students in Clark County felt it was “fairly easy” to get prescription pain medicine if they wanted some.
- In 2019, 10.7% of Clark County middle school students reported lifetime use of prescription pain medicine without a doctor’s prescription or differently than prescribed. This was a 3.5% increase from 2017 (depicted in graph).
What is it?
It is a medication designed to rapidly reverse an opioid overdose. It binds to opioid receptors and can reverse and block the effects of other opioids. It can very quickly restore normal respiration to a person whose breathing has slowed or stopped as a result of overdosing with heroin or prescription opioid pain medications.” – National Institute of Drug Abuse
How can it be administered?
Opioid Medicated Assisted Treatments
If you or someone you know is experiencing opioid misuse, please contact us for more information, as PACT Coalition partners are treatment providers.
Opioid Overdoes Surveillance Dashboard
This is a data tool that provides enhanced data visualization and integration of statewide and geographically-specific non-fatal and fatal opioid-involved overdose and opioid prescription data.
Check out the Opioid Overdoes Surveillance Dashboard
- CDC Guide on Preventing an Opioid Overdose
- CDC Rx Awareness Campaign
- Drug Enforcement Administration 360 – Combating heroin/opioid use through Law Enforcement, Diversion, and Community Outreach.
- NARCAN Nasal Spray
- National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA) – Opioid
- Nevada State Opioid Response
- SAMHSA Opioid Overdose Toolkit
- Southern Nevada Health District – Opioid Information
- Drug and Opioid-Involved Overdose Deaths — United States, 2017–2018
- Naloxone (SAMHSA)