LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — The number of deaths linked to fentanyl overdoses continues to increase across the country, including in Clark County. On Wednesday, former first lady and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton visited the Foundation for Recovery in Las Vegas, highlighting the opioid epidemic.
The Clinton Foundation has donated 20,000 doses of Narcan over the years to the organization, which is located near Charleston Boulevard and Decatur Boulevard.
“Five is the number of young people that Bill and I personally know who’ve lost their own lives to overdoses,” Clinton said.
Before a packed crowd of volunteers, special guests, and employees, the madame secretary said drug overdoses are the leading cause of death for 18 to 45-year-olds.
“People in the prime of their lives. just starting out. Starting work. Starting school. Starting a family doing what we all imagine you do in those key years,” Clinton said.
Naloxone is the drug used in Narcan that reverses the effects of an opioid overdose. Naloxone is available in three different forms, the most widely used one is the nasal spray.
Data from the Clark County Coroner’s Office showed that three-quarters of all of last year’s overdose deaths were linked to fentanyl. In 2018, it was just one in five.
Rob Banghart along with other survivors at the event credited the work organizations like Foundation for Recovery have done to address addiction.
Banghart said an organization that distributed doses of Narcan to the homeless saved his life. He overdoses twice in one night when he was living on the streets.
“We have to meet people where they’re at, and I was homeless at the time, using in a tent, under a bridge, you know what I mean? If we had waited for the EMTs to show up, I wouldn’t be here right now,” Banghart said.
Narcan also saved Donica Martinez’s life. She said Secretary Clinton’s visit made her feel seen.
“It shows me that people care. Not just people out here that I live with but people who are higher up. People who have influence and have a voice, actually care and want to make a difference,” Martinez said.
A statistic shared at the event noted there were nearly 110,000 overdose deaths nationwide in 2022. About 70% of those deaths were linked to fentanyl, according to the Southern Nevada Health District.
SNHD also issued a warning on Wednesday that fentanyl is now being mixed with a dangerous animal tranquilizer called xylazine. Narcan can’t reverse the effects of that mixture, although health officials recommend still using Narcan.