The opioid crisis is a national problem. Like the 1875 Locust Plaque that turned the skies black or the 1918 Spanish Influenza Pandemic that killed in excess of 500,000 in the United States, deaths related to opioid use is sweeping across the nation. Sadly, Lyon County has also been affected. Last year 18 people died from drug overdose and another 8 died from accidents while under the influence of opioids.
Opioids are a class of drugs that include illegal heroin. Many of you have legally used synthetic opioids for pain management after surgeries, such as oxycodone (OxyContin), hydrocodone (Vicodin, Norco, Lorcet), codeine, Demerol, morphine, methadone, and many others. Opioid pain relievers are safe when taken for a short period of time and as prescribed by a doctor. Because they produce euphoria in addition to pain relief, they are misused by smoking, snorting, injecting, or swallowing a larger quantity than prescribed by a doctor.
Regular use, even as prescribed by a doctor, leads to dependence. Most dependent opioid abusers don’t know they are addicted. Misuse of these drugs leads to accidental overdoses that routinely results in death. Opioid overdoses can be reversed with the drug naloxone when given right away, however emergency first responders are generally too late. In excess of 50,000 people died last year in the U.S. from drug overdoses.
Currently, there are two drugs being “laced” onto heroin, meth, and cocaine that are even more dangerous: fentanyl and carfentanyl. These two synthetic drugs are extremely potent and causing many deaths. Because of their potency, they can be smuggled in smaller shipments from Mexico and China, thus increasing drug trafficking organization’s profits. I recently listened to a regional DEA brief about the problem, and was informed that a Los Angeles area drug informant could not buy any straight heroin without being laced with fentanyl.
On Saturday October 28th, the LCSO is participating in a state-wide coalition effort to take back all unused prescription drugs. From 10:00 to 2:00 we want your outdated and unused drugs. We will incinerate them for you. There is no reason to keep them. Be a part of the solution by cleaning out your medicine cabinets. Drop off locations will be at Smith’s grocery store in Dayton, and Sheriff Office stations in Fernley, Smith Valley, and Yerington.
And finally, thank you for all the birthday wishes. I saw Sir Elton John’s Las Vegas concert as my present. While I normally do not support musician and actor’s political statements, I thought Elton John’s comments on the Las Vegas shooting were spot on. Paraphrasing, he said as he travels and tours the world, the violence seen in Las Vegas is not isolated to America. Violence is a worldwide problem. He believes it is because people have stopped “loving” each other. I have to agree.
As always, keep the faith.