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Reno’s Opiate Dependency Problem Comes to Light


On April 28th and April 29th, there were nine people arrested on drug conspiracy charges. This included Dr. Robert Rand and the General Manager of Jones West Ford, Richie West.

Richie West is also the son of the owner of Jones West Ford. This made headline news and captured the attention of many people in the Reno area.

What will happen now that one of the channels of drugs has been stopped in the community? Nearly 100 people gathered together to ask just that question on Thursday.

Representatives of various law enforcement agencies, first responders, healthcare professionals and addiction specialists, came together to discuss and make plans of how to come together in this community crisis.

For me it was very moving to see the spirit of cooperation between the multiple agencies. Led by a representative from the DEA and the Reno Police Department this meeting was very productive and insightful.

What is it that our community faces?

The primary concern that led to this series of events is certainly the misuse and misprescribing of pain management medications, mainly opiates. This is not a new problem in the Reno and surrounding communities, and many other communities in our country as well.

Now may be the time to open to further conversation about this challenge to our community.

What we may expect over the next few weeks is displaced patients searching for primary doctors the help fill their prescriptions and care for their health needs. Remember not all of Dr. Rand’s patients were seeking pain management.

To help with this need agencies such as Northern Nevada HOPES and Community Health Alliance (as well as many other agencies) are stepping up to help fill the needs.

When it comes to the situation of dependency and addiction to the opiates there is help for that as well. The Life Change Center has been involved in assisting many clients over many years to address their dependencies and addictions.

John FirestoneThere is no doubt that what we are seeing now is just the tip of the iceberg. According to John Firestone of The Life Change Center, they have already seen a fairly dramatic upturn in new patients coming to their center searching for help with their dependency and addiction to opioids in the past two weeks.

As the former patients of Dr. Robert Rand come to the end of their prescriptions they will be actively searching for assistance; help is out there for anyone seeking help.

I am hopeful that the spirit of community cooperation will shine and help everyone affected by this situation and I am also hopeful that this will also open the conversation so that we may get to the root of the problem.

This is just the tip of the iceberg, and the full extent of the fallout is yet to be seen. As Jerry Miller of the DEA said, “You cannot arrest this problem away.”

I will be reporting more on this. I do expect that there will be much more to come.

If you or anyone you know is looking for medical help, here are some places that you can go to receive assistance.

  • Northern Nevada HOPES (Reno) – 775-786-4673
  • Community Health Alliance (Reno) – (775) 329-6300
  • Life Change Center (Sparks) – 775-355-7734 and (Carson) 775-350-7250

For a more comprehensive list: http://healthiernv.org/resource-list/

Dana Nollsch
Dana Nollschhttp://www.photozen.us
Dana Nollsch is a lifelong Reno area resident. He is a photographer, artist, journalist, and spiritual leader. His work has been seen in many local publications and many national publications as well, award winning for his photojournalism. Dana has a unique eye that shows in his photography and a unique voice that is evident in his writing. His involvement in the local theater and arts community gives him an informed and honest perspective. Owner and operator of PhotoZen he offers his skills and insight to many industries.