Local chapter to fight opioid abuse opens in Las Vegas


According to a recent state report, from 2010 to 2016, opioid-related deaths overall have gone down by 6 percent however heroin deaths have quadrupled.

Read: Nevada Opioid Surveillance Report

More resources will soon be available for families fighting opioid abuse. The national organization, Addiction Policy Forum, is launching a local chapter.

Joe Engle runs an after school program at Mission High School, a recovery campus he helped open for students struggling with sobriety.

“Everything that I’ve done is to honor his memory,” said Joe Engle, Addiction Policy Forum.

After losing his son to a heroin overdose, Engle has dedicated his life to preventing opioid addiction and even started the non-profit, There’s No Hero in Heroin.

He is adding to his resume becoming the state chair for the Addiction Policy Forum. Nevada is the 12th state to start a chapter.

“It means that for families suffering from substance abuse disorder, they will have access to resources,” Engle said.

At a national level, the organization focuses some of its efforts on policy change. Locally, Engle is building a team that will help identify a family’s needs and direct them to the right facilities.

At the top of his priority list is on-demand treatment for addict needing immediate help getting off drugs.

“The ripple effects from addiction go far and everybody who comes in contact with a person suffering seems to suffer,” Engle said.

8 News NOW asked Engle if the possible closure of WestCare would affect his efforts to connect families with treatment centers. The health provider is the only state-subsidized facility in the Nevada.

“It sounds like Las Vegas would certainly be in a lot of trouble if Las Vegas were to lose WestCare.” 

Engle says he doesn’t know where WestCare patients would go but he will continue fighting for more resources for families needing help.

“What keeps me going is the work and the hope that I see instilled in others.” 

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