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City Council to put opioid funds toward recovery court

Updated May 1, 2023 - 7:00 am

A demonstration of how to administer NARCAN nasal spray is not a common sight at a City Council meeting, but that is exactly what Mayor Joe Hardy did Tuesday.

The demonstration was part of a discussion about the “no shame” boxes available that contain both the nasal spray version of Naloxone which can be used to revive someone who has overdosed on opioids as well as a test strip for detecting the presence of fentanyl.

Boulder City is set to receive some funding as a result of multiple settlements reached by the state of Nevada with manufacturers and distributors of the synthetic opioid oxycontin. In a presentation to the council, City Attorney Brittany Walker reported that the city had received approximately $46,000 to date with another $40,000 expected to be received in fiscal year 2024. An additional $24,000 per year is expected from the settlements annually for seven years after that.

The council discussed possible uses for the funds, which are limited by law and the terms of the settlements in terms of how they can be used. Possible uses include:

• Purchasing Naloxone or other FDA-approved drugs for reversing the effects of an overdose of opioids;

• Expanding training in the use of those drugs to first responders, schools, community groups and families;

• Funding treatment programs for opioid addiction for the uninsured or users whose insurance does not cover the treatment;

• Prevention programs including media campaigns and medical provider outreach and education.

Staff presented a series of options to the council including purchasing NARCAN, training city employees in use of the drug, paramedic training for firefighters and a series of possible uses related to the city’s Recovery Court program. The Breaking the Cycle Recovery Court program was originally started in 2014 and referred to as the Drug Court until 2019.

Judge Victor Miller, who oversees the court, reported that approximately 90 percent of people who start the program in Boulder City complete it successfully, compared to a success rate of about 75 percent nationally.

“The advantage of our smaller, more personal approach is that when we have one of our graduates get re-arrested we were able to help with more appropriate counseling so to help avoid future problems,” he said in a 2019 story in the Boulder City Review.

After a short discussion, Councilwoman Cokie Booth said she would like to see all of the funding go to the Recovery Court program. Councilman Steve Walton made a motion to do that and the council voted unanimously to use all of the settlement funds for the Recovery Court.

Other actions

▶ Accepted: A grant from the Southern Nevada Chapter of the International Code Council in the amount of $2,500 to fund free swimming lessons for toddlers.

▶ Extended: Leases for more than 20 hangars at the Boulder City Airport for a period of six months in order to have time to settle on a more permanent solution for hangar leases which are expiring.

▶ Directed: Staff to begin the process of seeking a request for proposal to lease some space at Bravo/Whelan Fields and Veterans’ Memorial Park for construction of cellular towers in order to create additional cellular bandwidth within the city.

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