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Nevada seeking opioid committee members

In the state of Nevada and indeed, states all across the nation, the opioid epidemic has for many years been a focus of concern and many local governments have even taken to the legal system to fight the crisis, filing lawsuits against those involved in the manufacture, sale, marketing and distribution of opioid-based prescription drugs.

Nevada has already secured a $45 million settlement with one party named in its lawsuit, McKinsey and Co., and is continuing to pursue litigation against dozens of others but the precise use to which those dollars will be put has yet to be decided and Silver State residents, including those who have faced opioid addiction themselves, have the opportunity to play a part in that decision-making process.

To help the state find its direction when it comes to the proceeds of its opioid litigation, the Nevada Legislature passed Senate Bill 390 in the 2021 Legislative Session, creating a brand new state fund to hold the dollars recovered and establishing a new advisory body as well, the Advisory Committee for a Resilient Nevada. That body will play a key role in the coming years, guiding the administration of opioid litigation dollars which will eventually be put to use through a variety of programs and services aimed at assisting those who have taken the brunt of the negative impact of the opioid epidemic.

Nevadans interested in lending their expertise are encouraged to apply for a seat on the new committee by the end of the month.

“Today, the Nevada Department of Health and Human Services, in partnership with the Nevada Attorney General’s Office, announced the opening of a ‘letter of interest’ period for those who would like to serve on the Advisory Committee for a Resilient Nevada,” a news release issued July 30 read. “In 2021, the Nevada Legislature passed Senate Bill 390 creating the committee and setting the membership requirements to reflect the diversity of Nevada and include those who are disproportionately impacted by an opioid use disorder and disparities in access to health care.”

The Advisory Committee for a Resilient Nevada will be a large board with more than a dozen members who will be tasked with determining areas of priority for the allocation of proceeds from its opioid litigation and will offer guidance on the statewide needs assessment and plan for allocation of said funds. Members will be appointed by the Nevada Attorney General as well as the Nevada Department of Health and Human Services Director and its office of Minority Health and Equality. Members will serve for a term of two years and the committee must meet no less than twice per year. The body will be managed by the Nevada Department of Health and Human Services, Grants Management Unit and will work in coordination with the state Substance Use Recovery Group, which is part of the Nevada Attorney General’s Office.

“This legislation and the formation of this committee is vital as we look to ensure these funds are used to support Nevada communities,” Nevada Department of Health and Human Services Director Richard Whitley stated. “I encourage all Nevadans who have been impacted by an opioid use disorder to consider serving on this committee that will be instrumental in helping address opioid use disorder statewide.”

Nevada Attorney General Aaron Ford commented on the committee as well, remarking, “The opioid crisis is one of the most serious issues facing Nevada, and my office is working diligently to ensure those responsible are held accountable. This committee will be integral to the state’s work to help those impacted by the crisis and I encourage all Nevadans with relevant skillsets to apply.”

The news release provided a list of members that will be appointed, which includes:

One who possesses knowledge, skills and experience working with youth in the juvenile justice system

One who possesses knowledge, skills and experience working with persons in the criminal justice system

One who possesses knowledge, skills and experience in the surveillance of overdoses

One who is a physician certified in the field of addiction medicine by the American Board of Addiction Medicine or its successor organization

One who represents a nonprofit, community-oriented organization that specializes in peer-led recovery from substance use disorder

One who has survived an opioid overdose

One who represents a program to prevent overdoses or otherwise reduce the harm caused by the use of substances

One who represents an organization that specializes in housing

One who possesses knowledge, skills and experience in public health

One who possesses knowledge, skills and experience with education of pupils K-12

One who is the director of an agency which provides child welfare services or his or her designee

One who represents a program that specializes in prevention of substance use by youth

One who represents a faith-based organization that specializes in recovery from substance use disorder

One who represents a program for substance use disorder that is operated by a nonprofit organization and certified pursuant to NRS 458.025

One who is a resident of a county other than Clark or Washoe County that has experience having a substance use disorder or having a family member who has a substance use disorder

One who is a resident of Washoe County that has experience having a substance use disorder or having a family member who has a substance use disorder

One who is a resident of Clark County who has experience having a substance use disorder or having a family member who has a substance use disorder

The deadline to submit a letter of interest for the Advisory Committee for a Resilient Nevada is Tuesday, August 31.

The letter of interest should be one page and include the position or positions being applied for, a summary of qualifications to serve in that role, the name and organization, if employed, and phone and email contact information. Submit letters of interest to gmu@dhhs.nv.gov

The appointments are expected to be made in early September.

For more information contact project manager Sheila Lambert at slambert@dhhs.nv.gov

Contact reporter Robin Hebrock at rhebrock@pvtimes.com

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