Heroin use, deaths, on the rise in Nevada by Sandra Chereb , Associated Press

n this 2011 photo, results of a Regional Street Enforcement Team and U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency raid show 3 pounds of heroin, 3 ounces of cocaine and $10,639 in cash. (Photo: RGJ file photo )

n this 2011 photo, results of a Regional Street Enforcement Team and U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency raid show 3 pounds of heroin, 3 ounces of cocaine and $10,639 in cash.
(Photo: RGJ file photo )

CARSON CITY, Nev. (AP) — Some states, including Nevada, are reporting a rise in heroin use as many addicts shift from more costly and harder-to-get prescription opiates to this cheaper alternative. A look at what’s happening in Nevada:


Drug counselors and law enforcement officers say they see a direct tie between heroin use and abuse of prescription painkillers like Oxycodone. Patients become hooked on doctor prescribed medications, then go in search of supplies on the black market when their prescriptions run out. But a single pill on the street can run as much as $80 a pop. Heroin is more prevalent on the street and cheaper — about $15 for a fix.

But officials are also seeing younger people trying heroin at an earlier age. “Ten or 12 years ago we saw no kids using heroin or opiates,” said Kevin Quint, bureau chief for the state Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment Agency. “The last four or five years, the numbers have increased dramatically.”

Reno Police Sgt. Ron Chalmers said law enforcement has seen a massive increase in the amount of heroin seizures in recent years. He’s also experienced the heartache of heroin, having watched his younger brother struggle with addiction most of his adult life. Read More…

The Controversial Answer To America’s Heroin Surge by John Knefel

Glenna, a FROST’D worker, holds up photographs of when she was using. March 27th, 2014. Macey J. Foronda / BuzzFeed

Glenna, a FROST’D worker, holds up photographs of when she was using. March 27th, 2014. Macey J. Foronda / BuzzFeed

With heroin use at epidemic levels, harm reduction — a bold, long-contested approach to treating addicts — is gaining political traction. But are we ready to make it easier to shoot heroin even if it means fewer deaths?

On a chilly Monday morning in mid-March on Coney Island, down Surf Avenue from the famous Wonder Wheel and Cyclone, a parked Dodge van blasts its heater. Stuffed with all manner of injection-drug paraphernalia — needles of different gauges, cookers, ties, pearl-sized cotton balls, alcohol wipes — as well as plastic bags of nonperishable food items called “pantry” and thousands of condoms and lube packets, it’s a clinical stockroom meets therapist’s office on wheels. The van has these supplies to make using drugs safer, all for free — though getting high in the van is not permitted.

Ian, 60, sits in the back of the van, rubbing his hands to keep warm. “I used for over 45 years. Last 25 years was basically crack,” he says. He suffered what he calls “three minor strokes” that doctors said should have killed him, but kept getting high. So when someone slid a flier under his door for something called harm reduction — an approach to combating drug use that allows the person to continue to get high, but in a safer way — he was interested. Slowly, he decreased his use from daily, to weekends, to monthly — until he could finally quit. Now he works for FROST’D (Foundation for Research on Sexually Transmitted Diseases) — one of New York City’s harm reduction programs and the organization that runs this mobile unit — as a peer educator, a paid, part-time position that serves as a bridge between the staff and the communities they serve. Read More…

Researchers Find Significant Increase in Painkillers Prescribed to U.S. Adults Visiting Emergency Departments

Researchers at George Washington University found a dramatic increase in opioid prescriptions during emergency department visits over the last decade, while only a modest increase in pain-related complaints.

“This trend is especially concerning given dramatic increases in opioid-related overdoses and fatalities in recent years,” said Maryann Mazer-Amirshahi, M.D., co-author of the study and adjunct instructor of emergency medicine at the GW School of Medicine and Health Sciences (SMHS). “Using prescription opioids to treat acute painful conditions in emergency departments and hospitals might do more harm than good, as they can potentially lead to misuse and addiction. More needs to be done to monitor opioid prescriptions in emergency departments — having recommended standard approaches may be a good starting point.”

Read more here

First Syringe Service Program in Nevada!



Change Point Syringe Services Program Opens at Northern Nevada HOPES


January 28, 2014


For three legislative sessions, Northern Nevada HOPES, along with the Washoe County Health Department, the Northern Nevada Outreach Team, and other concerned citizens and community leaders including state Sen. David Parks, D-Las Vegas, fought to repeal the law that made it illegal to possess hypodermic needles or syringes in Nevada.

Why the fight for legalized syringe access?
•It helps save lives. 70% of people who inject drugs contract hepatitis C from shared syringes and about 10% acquire HIV. Syringe Service Programs (SSPs) are scientifically proven to significantly reduce the transmission of infectious diseases.
•It increases access to care. SSPs serve as a bridge for individuals needing medical care and drug treatment services. And numerous studies have shown that SSPs do not increase injection drug use.
•It saves money. Caring for a person living with hepatitis C can cost close to $500,000 and a minimum of $355,000 for someone living with HIV.
•It makes our community safer. SSPs provide safety to first responders and protect children and adults from encountering used syringes in parks and other public spaces.

In July 2013, Governor Sandoval signed Senate Bill 410, thereby legalizing syringe access in Nevada. Following the establishment of operational guidelines by the state, HOPES opened the Change Point Syringe Services Program in January 2014.

Since the beginning of January 2014, HOPES has seen over 30 individual participants in the program and has given out over 400 clean syringes. HOPES’ Harm Reduction and Outreach Coordinator Abigail Polus stated, “Our goal is to set the standard for running a Syringe Services Program. We want to keep people safe and infection-free and provide access to additional HOPES services including affordable healthcare and free HIV testing.”

If you or someone you know would like to become a Change Point program participant, please contact HOPES at (775) 786-4673. Along with providing sterile syringes, Change Point also provides free HIV and hepatitis C testing, sterile injection supplies, safer sex supplies, hygiene kits, and harm reduction counseling. Change Point distributes and disposes of syringes specifically for people who inject nonprescription drugs or hormones, and does not distribute or dispose of syringes used for insulin injection.

Change Point is a program of Northern Nevada HOPES, a full service community health center that provides integrated medical care and support services to individuals with or without insurance. Change Point is located at 445 Ralston Street in downtown Reno, NV. Starting February 1, Change Point will be open Monday – Friday, from 10:00am – 5:30pm. For more information on Change Point or becoming a member of the HOPES community, call us at (775) 786-4683.


Announcing the Opioid Overdose Toolkit


Approximately 100 Americans died from overdose every day in 2010. In just one year, we lost 38,000 people to overdose—more than the number who died from either homicides or traffic crashes. 22,000 of those deaths involved prescription drugs, and more than 3,000 involved heroin. Frighteningly, other data show that opiate use among young people is increasing.

These numbers are staggering. Here’s what makes them heartbreaking: every overdose death is preventable. Two years ago, we released a comprehensive plan to address our nation’s prescription drug abuse epidemic. This plan supports prescription drug monitoring programs, convenient and environmentally responsible drug disposal methods, education for patients and prescribers, and law enforcement efforts to decrease diversion of prescription drugs.

In honor of International Overdose Awareness Day, this Saturday, August 31, we are joining other federal partners to announce the release of the Opioid Overdose Toolkit. The Toolkit, developed by the Department of Health and Human Services, provides information on overdose prevention, treatment and recovery for first responders, prescribers, and patients. Read More…

Coalition seeks ‘Good Samaritan’ law to prevent overdose deaths

Narcan userby Conrad Wilson, Minnesota Public Radio

August 8, 2013

ST. CLOUD, Minn. — A coalition of doctors and public health advocates wants Minnesota to join a growing number of states that have laws aimed at saving the lives of drug abusers.

State Sen. Chris Eaton plans to introduce a bill in the next legislative session that would provide legal immunity for those who call 911 to seek help for someone suffering an overdose. It would also increase access to a drug that revives those who overdose on opiate-based drugs, like heroin. Read More…

Law that lets addicts have needles aims to halt spread of deadly diseases




The statistics are shocking: Seventy percent of illegal-injection drug users will contract hepatitis C from the use of dirty needles. About 10 percent will acquire HIV.

The lifetime cost of caring for a hepatitis patient is $500,000, and HIV lifetime health care costs are a minimum of $355,000.

Thirty percent of police who deal with addicts eventually will stick themselves with needles when they frisk injection-drug users. Nearly a fourth of officers suffer two or more needle sticks. Read More

The Governor Signs SB410

For Immediate Release: June 12, 2013
CARSON CITY, NV — Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval signed SB 410 yesterday, removing syringes from the list of illegal drug paraphernalia, thereby allowing for non-prescription sale of syringes and syringe access and disposal programs….
Nevada joins 36 other states that have decriminalized syringes to allow for syringe exchange programs and non-prescription sales of sterile injection equipment to reduce transmission of HIV, viral hepatitis, and other bloodborne infections.
Senator David Parks, the bill author, remarked, “Back in 1996 when first elected, I was asked what bills I’d be pursuing for my first legislative session.  My response was employment non-discrimination, HIV/AIDS state funding and decriminalization of hypodermic devices.  Little did I know it would be my 9th session before decriminalization of hypodermic devices would come to fruition.”
Northern Nevada HOPES in Reno plans to start a syringe exchange program as soon as the law takes effect. Director Sharon Chamberlain says, “In addition to getting sterile syringe out to those who need them, our program will increase safe syringe disposal by individuals in the community.  We will educate these users about the new and needed community disposal options, and strongly encourage them to take advantage of this resource.”  Previously, no community initiatives provided safe disposal options.
The US Centers for Disease Control concluded that the incidence of HIV among injection drug users had decreased by 80% in the US over a 20- year period in large part due to syringe exchange programs.  Most syringe exchange programs are part of a comprehensive health promotion effort that includes viral hepatitis and HIV counseling and testing, education on reducing sexual and drug use-related health risks, referral to drug treatment, and referral to other medical and social services.