Carson City Board of Health told there’s a lack of funds to combat substance abuse, mental illness |

Carson City Board of Health told there’s a lack of funds to combat substance abuse, mental illness

John Barrette

An “ongoing battle” to combat substance abuse and mental illness problems in tandem has been shortchanged by lack of funding, Carson City’s Board of Health was told Thursday.

Kathy Bartosz, Partnership Carson City executive director, said the community did not have enough treatment to deal with alcohol or drug abuse problems coupled with mental health concerns in people who wind up in jail or fall between the cracks in the services provided.

“It’s down to money,” she said when she was questioned about the reason.

Bartosz also covered needs for substance abuse challenges among those without mental illness, problems dealing with teen and young adult suicide prevention, and delved into the specifics of precise substances that are used and abused by members of the community.

She said progress had been made on methamphetamine, but prescription drugs and heroin abuse are problems that concern her. She also mentioned awareness of potential problems with legal substances like alcohol, tobacco and the state legalization of medical marijuana still must be addressed to keep people attuned to risks.

The health board also heard and accepted other reports, among them one from Dr. Susan Pintar, city health officer and chairman of the panel. The Board of Health consists of Pintar, Sheriff Ken Furlong and members of the Board of Supervisors.

Pintar cited strength and improvements for the most part, but did say “we are no closer” to finding a local place to handle sexual assault examinations. The issue was first raised at a previous health board session when she reported Carson Tahoe Medical Center no longer would handle the task. She said Thursday victims of rape or other sexual assault still must go to Reno-Sparks for SA exams.

Nicki Aaker, city Health and Human Services director, reported on various matters and said flu vaccines would be available next Friday. That free influenza vaccine availability is to start at 2 p.m. and continue until 6 p.m. at the Carson City Corporate Yard, 3303 Butti Way. Aaker also said flu shots have been given at 11 Carson City schools and 11 more in Douglas County.

Among reports from other HHS staff were some on compliance with the federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), a financial literacy program, a tobacco use survey, clinical services and other matters.