As Trump dragged his feet on a federal response to the opioid crisis, Laxalt failed to push him for action.
In July 2017, Laxalt met with U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions in Las Vegas on a number of issues, including the opioid epidemic. Afterwards, he issued a statement touting his commitment “to collaborating with our federal partners on important public safety issues.”
On July 31, Trump’s Opioid Commission urgently recommended he declare a national emergency to combat the opioid crisis. Trump said his administration was going to spend “a lot of money on the opioid crisis,” but by October, it was clear that his plan wouldn’t bring any new funding to states.
Despite saying he wanted to collaborate with the federal government, Laxalt told reporters in January:
“I’m just focusing on what we’ve done for opioids….I don’t know where the status is of anything national regarding the opioids.”
Laxalt stood in the way of Reno taking action against irresponsible opioid manufacturers.
In October 2017, Reno Mayor Hillary Schieve announced plans to sue opioid manufacturers and use settlement funds for addiction treatment programs. Over 100 cities across the country had already filed similar lawsuits.
“Laxalt’s letter failed to demonstrate ‘any support for why or how a city suit would impact your equally commendable efforts in the bipartisan multi-state investigation… Respectfully, the legal experience and human resources available to the Nevada Attorney General’s office pales in comparison to the credentials and resources of Reno’s intended private counsel.’”
All the while, Nevada’s opioid crisis has gone from bad to worse under Laxalt’s tenure as attorney general.
In 2016, the amount of opioids distributed to each adult in Nevada was the sixth-highest in the nation.
From the summer of 2016 to the summer of 2017, Nevada was the only Western state with a significant increase in opioid overdose emergency room visits. According to the CDC, Nevada saw a nearly 20 percent increase in these visits.
In 2017 and 2018, Nevada ranked dead last in mental health and access to care, according to Mental Health America’s annual State of Mental Health Report, which ranks all 50 states and the District of Columbia based on several mental health and access measures.
#AskLaxalt why he’s let the opioid crisis get worse under his watch.
While Nevadans continue to suffer the effects of a worsening opioid crisis, Laxalt has failed to pressure the Trump Administration to follow through with its promise of aid and even tried to block a Nevada mayor from fighting irresponsible opioid manufacturers. Why isn’t Laxalt doing more to combat the opioid epidemic?