Lawmakers on Friday approved funding for programs designed to track opioid and other drug overdoses and to launch a campaign to warn teens and others of the dangers of vaping.
Attorney General Aaron Ford said the vaping crisis is so new it wasn’t even on the state’s radar a couple of years ago. Now, he said, there is a rising number of lung illnesses and nearly 50 deaths nationwide.
“Vaping represents an entirely new threat to public health,” he said.
Ford’s deputy who will implement the program along with Health and Human Services experts, said the number of deaths has doubled in the last three months.
“We need to understand the risks that are associated with vaping,” said Mark Kreugar. “It sounds safe, like inhaling water, but it’s not. These products contain a lot of chemicals.”
The program will be funded by $1.7 million in Johnson and Johnson settlement money and will start with research into the products that are out there, followed by a summit to analyze the data collected.
The third part of the program, a marketing campaign to warn and discourage the use of dangerous vaping products, was put on hold. The money for that portion, about $400,000, will be reviewed once the research and data are collected and analyzed.
The Interim Finance Committee also approved funding $700,000 from the Institute for Intergovernmental research to implement the Overdose Detection Mapping Application Program (ODMAP) in Nevada. That will create a database in real time that can help identify spikes in overdose cases, particularly fatalities. The database will provide a location of the overdose, whether it resulted in a fatality, the drug involved and whether Naloxone was administered to counter the effects of the overdose.
In addition, IFC approved a $1.68 million federal Substance Use Disorder Prevention grant to support planning for an opioid recovery and treatment program.