(Combating Opioid Abuse Together)
Substance Use Disorders, particularly opioid abuse and dependence, have surpassed epidemic proportions within our community, Clark County, NV.
SCOPE OF THE OPIOID EPIDEMIC IN SOUTHERN NEVADA
Since 2008, more Clark County residents have died each year from opioid overdoses than firearms and motor vehicle traffic accidents combined. From 2012-2014, the mortality rate from opioid overdoses in Clark County was almost 70% higher than the national rate. The opioid fact sheet published by Southern Nevada Community Health Improvement Plan, a group of over 500 community agencies, reports that opioid use and misuse throughout Clark County were responsible for over 1,700 emergency room visits and 1,700 inpatient hospitalizations each year during 2013–2015. In 2015, opioid admissions to Emergency Rooms had cost $13 Million in Emergency Department discharges and $94 Million Inpatient discharge charges. Regarding 2016; Clark County Coroner Dr. John Fudenberg perhaps best illustrates the sheer magnitude of this plague in saying:
“Drugs — including prescription, over-the-counter, and illegal drugs — contributed to approximately 550 accidental deaths. More than half of those specifically involved opioids or opiates.”
Fudenberg said the rate of opioid-related deaths is not as bad as it is in some places, and the county had only “a very slight increase” in 2016 from the previous year. But, he said, “It’s really an epidemic.”
The coroner said some places on the East Coast have seen opioid deaths increase by as much as 300 percent. Clark County isn’t there, but it appears to be headed that way.
“We believe it’s just a matter of time,” he said. “That’s a concern.”
At first glance, 550 deaths in proportion to a population of 2.15 million may not warrant much attention until one digs a bit deeper to find there were only a TOTAL of 3,863 reported deaths within Clark County during that time. Bringing the figure of “more than half” into sharper focus; the number of deaths directly attributed to Opiates/Opioids stands at 8% of ALL deaths reported within Clark County. In summation 1 in 12 deaths which occurred within Clark County, NV. during the 2016 calendar year can be directly attributed to Opiates/Opioids. Deferring to National statistics, this would be the #3 cause of death just behind Heart Disease and ALL forms of Cancer (combined)! This epidemic is destroying our youth and adolescents.
The Morlon Greenwood Foundation, Inc. (aka MG52) is uniquely positioned to combat this plague from multiple angles. The Foundation has developed a truly multidisciplinary outpatient program specifically designed to combat the multitude of issues youth and young adults experience in relation to opioid abuse and dependency, e.g.,, predisposing biological and socioeconomic vulnerabilities, societal and familial stigma, denial, lack of community and family supports, media glorification and normalization of use, lack of mentorship and positive role models, unaddressed co-occurring mental health issues including trauma and depression, a paucity of prosocial activities, domestic/physical/emotional and sexual violence, and hunger.
In collaboration with our extensive network of Community Partners, MG52 is prepared to deliver a high quality 12-week program* designed to:
- Enable participants to identify their unique path from substance use along with an individualized plan for recovery. Youth and young adults will be comprehensively assessed for concurrent lifestyle issues likely to interfere with chemical, emotional, and social recovery. A path to success via an innovative, active, experiential model of psychosocial development and education via group participation, family engagement and education, basic needs provisions, community outings to build self-efficacy and foster a connection to nature, and mentorship are available to each program participant.
- Provide participants the necessary skills to identify and break the cycle of abuse and prepare them for recovery maintenance from opioid abuse or dependence, co-occurring mental health issues, and psychosocial obstacles.
- Foster participants’ engagement in prosocial activities, appropriate educational environment, positive leisure, productive and attainable goal setting, education, support and mentorship designed to provide mental, emotional, and physical wellness.
- Educate participants on community and emergency resources, sponsorship, peer/professional mentorship, wellness, and prosocial norms.
- Educate participants and supportive others’ on abuse and abuse recovery, ending the cycle of abuse, and healthy communication.
Each participant will take part in a graduation ceremony with their group upon completion of the program. Upon graduation, each group will participate in a group outing (further described below under A.R.E.) wherein the skills learned during the program will be reinforced “outside of the classroom”. A follow-up event for all graduates will take place approximately 3 months after the last group’s graduation and we have been actively working with a few of the Foundation’s “Community Partners” who are eager to provide the venue, personnel, and support necessary to ensure the event is both unrivaled and memorable for our graduates.
Mentorship – Mentorship takes many forms including but not limited to interactions with Professional Athletes, Recording Artists, Film/Movie personalities, Local Business Owners, Community Leaders, Law Enforcement, and other recognized professionals. Today’s youth are in dire need of positive role models and the Morlon Greenwood Foundation has a cadre of qualified mentors who have passed a rigorous vetting process (including FBI screening).
* This program is billed as a “12-Week Program”; however, the cornucopia of services extends far beyond merely 12-weeks and is more aptly identified as a 6-month program. The 12-week component (addressing use and risk reduction while identifying alternatives) of the program is at the core of services provided but equal emphasis is placed upon follow-up services, continued mentorship/life-skills, and reinforcement/support of the principles learned by the participants during the 12-week program is essential to recovery and continued abstinence.
The Harbor – Referral
Mission High School – Referral, Mentorship, Education
Delta Academy – Referral, Mentorship, Education
Renew Therapeutic Enhancement Services – Assessment, Staffing, Curriculum Enhancements
Dunamis Process – Group Facilitation, Life Skills, Mentorship, Gang intervention
The Richard Steele Foundation – Boxing/Athletic instruction, Mentorship
Las Vegas Metro Police Athletic League – Resocialization, Positive Leisure, Community Engagement
Hope For Prisoners – Resocialization, Mentorship, Job Skills
(A.R.E.) Adventure Recreation Experience – Prosocial Activities, Positive Leisure, Self-Efficacy Building. Activities include indoor and outdoor recreational and social activities such as rock climbing, canoeing, cliff jumping, aquarium visits, Ropes course, bungee jumping, hiking, theater, go-carts, and a host of other individual/group activities demonstrating alternatives to “getting high”.
Nevada Homeless Alliance – Community Partner addressing basic needs fulfillment, e.g., connect participants with food and clothing pantries, Nevada IDs, job connect agencies, youth shelters, and emergency services
2Act Ministries – Transportation for participants to/from each session in addition to follow-ups.
Personnel: Accreditation, Certifications, Licensure, Professional Designations, etc. for each and every individual affiliated with or a part of the Morlon Greenwood Foundation relating to successful implementation of the C.O.A.T. program is available.