Drug overdose deaths in Nevada increase by 55%

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Nevada health officials report a dramatic increase in drug overdose deaths in the state between 2019 and 2020.

Accidental overdoses among Nevadans totaled 788 in 2020, a 55% increase from 510 in 2019, the Nevada Overdose Data Program reported Thursday.

The number of overdose deaths among people younger than 25 nearly tripled, increasing from 38 in 2019 and 106 in 2020.

According to the state's drug overdose reporting system, one of every two overdose deaths involved a person with a mental health problem while three in four overdose victims had an identified substance misuse problem not related to alcohol.

The opioid overdose antidote, Naloxone, is available free statewide and the overdose data program encourages Nevadans to learn about the life-saving resource. Naloxone can be obtained in Nevada without a prescription.

In 2015, Nevada adopted the Good Samaritan Overdose Law. It protects a person from prosecution for many narcotics-related offenses when seeking medical assistance for another person for a drug-related emergency.