Public rehab center planned to help Clark County residents fight against addiction

A public rehah center is planned to help Clark County residents in the fight against substance abuse and addiction.
Published: Sep. 28, 2023 at 12:01 AM PDT
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LAS VEGAS, Nev. (FOX5) - A public rehabilitation center is planned to help Clark County residents in the fight against substance abuse and addiction, and it will be funded by millions of dollars coming from opioid settlements.

Clark County officials said the one-of-a-kind Rehabilitation Center will cost $150 million. Some private and foundation funds will also be used to launch the building, county officials said.

Clark County is set to get $286.5 million in opioid settlements through 2042.

The 14-acre facility will offer a detox center, 30-day, 90-day and six-month addiction treatment options. There will be 240 beds available for patients. The center will accept private insurance and Medicaid, so patients will not be turned away if they do not have the means.

Medical and social service providers across Las Vegas describe how substance abuse resources are desperately needed for patients, as a growing Las Vegas Valley population also faces challenges with the current fentanyl crisis.

549 people died from overdoses in 2022, according to the Southern Nevada Health District. Nevada Drug Overdose Surveillance reports, that from June to July this year, emergency room visits in Clark County alone are up 20%.

“The county is stepping into that space is because it’s so needed,” said Clark County Manager Kevin Schiller. The fentanyl crisis fits into that conversation. It’s a lifelong issue,” he said.

Schiller explains how many people with addiction issues have mental health challenges; patients often need critical care and support for weeks or months to become independent.

Schiller said the renowned Betty Ford Center is the model for the facility to make sure it is open and welcoming for patients, so they will be eager to come and return for services.

“We are designing it with 2023 in mind,” he said.

Providers at the Huntridge Family Clinic know the demand first-hand; the clinic for the LGBTQ+ community offers medication for opioid addiction, fentanyl strips, and teaches harm reduction methods.

“The biggest challenge is looping patients into services. Once they leave-- where do they go?” said Rob Phoenix with the clinic.

Phoenix explained the recent challenges for a homeless patient who asked for help for addiction recovery. “He came in at nine o’clock in the morning, and we worked until four o’clock in the afternoon calling different places trying to find someplace for him. And the challenge for him was he didn’t have an income. All he had was like Nevada Medicaid. It really makes it a struggle for patients that are trying to stay sober and have no resources,” Phoenix said.

“After they come into the emergency room, they get treated. They survive their overdose, they get Narcan, they sober up, and then we discharge them back into the community that they came from with no resources. The cycle just keeps repeating itself,” Phoenix said, explaining the need for more inpatient and outpatient facilities across the Las Vegas Valley.

“Ideally, that’s what the [opioid settlement] money is for, right? We created this crisis with opioids. And now we’re trying to fix it. This would be a great way to fix it,” he said.

The project could be completed in two-and-a-half to three years.