Nevada Democrat gubernatorial candidate Chris Giunchigliani’s misleading claims about the opioid crisis at a recent campaign event are causing new headaches for her campaign. According to fact check by the Las Vegas Review-Journal, Giunchigliani “appeared to dismiss the growing opioid epidemic,” claiming “that’s a white persons’ drug right now.”
Giunchigliani also claimed that Methadone “is still highly used in the rural counties,” but the Review-Journal reports that “only seven providers” of Methadone are certified in Nevada and “none of them are in rural areas.”
The Las Vegas Journal-Review has more:
Nevada governor candidate Chris Giunchigliani appeared to dismiss the growing opioid epidemic at a campaign event this year.
While speaking at a Douglas County Democrats dinner on Feb. 17, Giunchigliani told the crowd that ‘there’s an epidemic and it’s not just opioids. Because with no disrespect, that’s a white persons’ drug right now,’ according to video excerpt of the event obtained by the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
‘You have to deal with heroin, we have to deal with drugs, we have to deal with alcohol. We have to deal with gambling. And that’s all across the state,’ Giunchigliani continued in the video.
Then, she added: ‘Methadone is still highly used in the rural counties. We have an obligation and a responsibility to make sure we’re treating mental health because the addictions are a symptom of that. It’s not the cause. And we have to do better. We have never really restored the funding that was cut back in the ’80s. We have an obligation, and as governor, I want to work on that…’
Nationally, opioids have predominantly hit white, rural communities disproportionately harder than African American or Latino communities, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Several studies suggest that was because doctors were less willing to prescribe painkillers to minorities because they viewed them as more susceptible to addiction.
But lately, that trend has shifted significantly.
The rates for overall drug overdoses for African Americans had been steadily rising from 2010 to 2015, though at a slower rate than whites.
In 2016 however, the death rates spiked by about 56 percent for African Americans, jumping from 6.6 per 100,000 to 10.3 per 100,000, compared to a jump from 13.9 to 17.5 for whites.
And there’s no difference in prescription opioid use between blacks and whites, according to the CDC…
As for Giunchigliani’s claim that ‘methadone is still highly used in the rural counties…’
Medication-assisted treatments, whether through methadone or an alternative, are able to avoid withdrawal symptoms and forgo cravings. In these settings, methadone is highly regulated on both the state and federal levels — so much so, that only seven providers are certified in Nevada.
None of them are in rural areas.