As fentanyl overdoses rise, Clark County health officials offer free help, resources

Published: Oct. 11, 2022 at 11:14 PM PDT
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LAS VEGAS, Nev. (FOX5) - Health officials have seen a spike in overdose deaths and emergency room visits across Nevada, and are reminding the public of free resources available to prevent a tragedy.

According to Nevada’s Department of Health and Human Services, opioid-related emergency room visits rose 66% from July to August. Stimulant-related overdoses rose 50% around the same timeframe.

The rise prompted the new creation of a state task force to find the cause of the surge.

An advisory was issued by the Southern Nevada Health District, after a series of six overdoses in 36 hours; four were tied to fentanyl.

In 2021, SNHD recorded 225 fentanyl-related deaths. Deaths in 2022 could potentially pass last year, according to Brandon Delise, a senior epidemiologist. He warns any drug could be laced with the deadly substance.

Metro is finding pills that are laced with fentanyl and its analogs. So these fentanyl analogs can be mixed with heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine, or pressed into counterfeit pills like benzodiazepines, which go by Xanax and Klonopin. A lot of people unknowingly use drugs that have been combined with fentanyl,” Delise said.

“No drug is excluded. So if individuals think they’re taking one thing, there could be a chance that fentanyl can be combined with that substance unbeknownst to the user,” he said.

People who are addicted to drugs tend to always be searching for that higher high, so drug dealers and manufacturers are lacing other drugs with fentanyl,” said Debbie Leavitt with Vegas Stronger, who helps those who are struggling with addiction and homeless get proper resources. Services range from a detox center, to mental health support, and classes.

For free fentanyl strips and Narcan, you can find resources here:

SNHD offers free fentanyl test strips and Narcan at headquarters at 280 South Decatur Boulevard and does not require any personal information to obtain them. For more information, click here: SNHD

You can contact SNHD for a free instructional session on how to administer Narcan.

For Vegas Stronger and all resources available, click here.