Observance coincides with unveiling of newest public health vending machine

The Southern Nevada Harm Reduction Alliance (SNHRA) is hosting its 7th International Overdose Awareness Day event on Thursday, August 31, from 4 – 7 p.m. at Chuck Minker Sports Complex, located at 275 N. Mojave Rd., Las Vegas, NV 89101. The event is an opportunity to acknowledge the loss of friends and loved ones to fatal drug overdoses, while honoring the families and friends touched by overdoses. The observance also aims to reduce the stigma of drug-related deaths while raising awareness about overdose prevention and drug policy.

Open to the public, the event will include testimonials from community members discussing their overdose-related experiences. A naloxone (Narcan®) training will be offered, and participants can receive overdose prevention kits for no cost provided by the Southern Nevada Health District (SNHD). Naloxone is a medication used for emergency treatment of known or suspected opioid overdose. Information about fentanyl, including fentanyl test strips, will be available, as well as recovery resources, provider booths, a silent auction and free food for attendees.

There were 549 drug overdose deaths among Clark County residents in 2022, an increase of 31.3% from 2019. Opioids (both prescription and illicit) accounted for 60.1% of the drug overdose deaths in 2022. Opioid-related deaths increased by 40.4% in 2022 to 330 deaths, compared to 235 deaths in 2019. In 2022, the opioid death rate was the highest in the 89101 ZIP code at 55.4 deaths per 100,000 residents. Fentanyl continues to be a significant public health concern in Clark County and is driving the increase in opioid-related deaths.

SNHRA provides education and resources about reducing substance misuse and unintentional overdose deaths, as well as reducing the risks of acquiring or transmitting bloodborne infections. Each month, the SNHD, in conjunction with SNHRA member organizations, provides testing for HIV and hepatitis C, syringe services, overdose prevention, naloxone, fentanyl test strips, substance use disorder linkage to services and homeless services.

New Harm Reduction Vending Machine Location

In honor of International Overdose Awareness Day, SNHD and Impact Exchange will showcase their newest public health vending machine, a key component of an innovative intervention program that minimizes the risks of HIV and hepatitis C transmission. The machine, which provides a variety of harm reduction products geared toward people who use drugs, will be unveiled August 31, at the Fremont Public Health Center, located at 2830 E. Fremont St., Las Vegas, NV 89104. Each vending machine provides harm reduction needs such as sterile syringe kits, hygiene kits, wound care kits, hormone injection kits, safer sex kits, pregnancy tests and nasal naloxone, all at no cost to clients.

Syringe exchanges are used throughout the United States, providing sterile syringes and other services while encouraging users to return used sharps. The Fremont location is the seventh for the public health vending machines in Southern Nevada. Similar machines are in other local venues including the SNHD main public health center, opioid treatment centers, community centers and primary care clinics. The machines are operated by the Trac-B/Impact Exchange Harm Reduction Program, which is the Las Vegas Valley’s only syringe services program.

Nasal naloxone and fentanyl test strips are available to the public at the SNHD Decatur Pharmacy and self-collected HIV tests are available by mail via the Collect 2 Protect website at https://www.southernnevadahealthdistrict.org/programs/collect-2-protect/

For more information on International Overdose Awareness Day, visit  http://nvoverdoseday.com/. For more information about SNHRA, visit www.facebook.com/SoNVHarmReductionAlliance/.