Recently, the Clark County Medical Society Alliance (CCMSA) wrapped up its 2½-year health initiative: Promoting Education and Awareness to Reduce Opioid Abuse and Misuse.
Its final donation was given to the local nonprofit There is No Hero in Heroin, Las Vegas focusing on prevention, education, and awareness. Joseph Engle, founder, and president of TINHIH, has demonstrated hard work in the community to reduce opioid abuse. City National Bank sponsored this vital health initiative by the CCMSA. Committee Co-Chairs Jacqueline Nguyen and Beverly Daly Dix served with committee members Karen Schroeder Kim Fonte, Michele Volker, Ginger L Allen, Vicki Cichon, Wendy Lee Meoz, Reeta Kaul Thukral, Ayesha Rabbani-Mehdi, Elizabeth Fildes, and Rebecca Penn.
“When I heard the shocking news that each year, we were losing more people to opioid overdose in the US (about 72,000) than the total number of soldiers killed in the entire Vietnam War (58,220). I knew that I must do something to help stem this health crisis,” says Daly Dix. “CCMSA members worked tirelessly on our Opioid Health Initiative to inform and educate the public about this health emergency, and I felt pride in our CCMSA members and physicians for stepping up.”
“For the alliance, we focused on increasing awareness and education about safely locking up your prescription medication and safe disposal,” adds Nguyen. “What I’ve learned through this work is that Nevada is incredibly fortunate to have dedicated and passionate people who fight this epidemic every day. They work in our medical offices, treatment and recovery programs, schools, government, and private charities to each do their part to eradicate this scourge and take care of the health of our community.”
In 2016, the AMAA invited Sam Quinones to discuss his book Dreamland that explains the origins and rise of the opioid epidemic in America. The data shocked Nguyen, and she approached the Nevada State Alliance members. Through its adoption of the Opioid Misuse Prevention Health Initiative, CCMSA looked at the community outreach side as legislators and physicians grappled with the policy and clinical challenges through the adoption of Nevada AB474- the Opioid Bill.
“I was proud to be a part of this health initiative. As a person in long-term recovery myself, it is important to me to assist in any way we could with the opioid epidemic,” says Ginger Allen Co-President of CCMSA 2019-2020. “We all agreed that providing information regarding prevention, education, and awareness to our community was necessary. Each and every person we can assist helps prevent addiction and overdose. I also support ending the shame and stigma surrounding addiction in general; I have never met anyone that chose or enjoys addiction. I maintain there is hope for everyone, and we need to try and help those that want or seek recovery from addiction.”
ABOUT CLARK COUNTY MEDICAL SOCIETY ALLIANCE
CCMSA is a nonprofit service organization composed of spouses of physicians in Clark County. They are also members of the Nevada State Medical Association Alliance and the American Medical Association Alliance. CCMSA, primarily a service organization, focuses on health-related needs in the community, initiating projects or providing volunteer hours and monetary assistance to charitable organizations or groups. For more information, visit www.ccmsa-lv.org.
ABOUT THE EFFORTS OF THE INITIATIVE
The AMAA created rack cards educating the public of common prescription opioids and other links to resources for use by its members, including a webinar that is currently being revised for 2020. Co-branded rack cards were also distributed to physician offices all over Southern Nevada. This will continue the collaborative efforts of the AMAA initiative with the national PTA organization. NSMAA worked collaboratively with CCMSA and AWCMS to raise funds to bring awareness to this health initiative by hosting Sam Quinones, author of the groundbreaking book Dreamland. Town halls and panel discussions were also held for physicians and the public.