Reno, Nevada

Reno Police Badge

Site LE Agency
Reno Police Department

Site Researcher
Emmanuel Barthe, Ph.D., University of Nevada, Reno, Department of Criminal Justice

Site Focus
Prescription Drug Abuse

SPI Strategy
Offender-based policing, Problem-oriented policing

Site Cohort

Site Profile
Mid-sized urban area of 103.01 sq. miles with a population of 221,010

Project Overview

Reno, Nevada, with a population of over 222,000 people, ranked first in the nation for prevalence and rate of non-medical prescription drug abuse (ages 26 or older) in the early 2000s. The Reno SPI focused on reducing the availability of drugs through educating the public and healthcare providers about the problem, using the Prescription Monitoring Program to target doctor shoppers, and enforcing prescription drug laws. The results included the collection and destruction of large quantities of unused or unwanted prescription pills, a decrease in of the amount of pills prescribed, and an increase in arrests for prescription-related offenses, as well as strong professional education about the dangers of prescription over-use.

Data Highlight

  • The amount of prescription pills seized by the Washoe County Regional Street Enforcement Team doubled between 2005 and 2008 and treatment admissions for prescription drug addiction increased 62 percent from 2007 to 2008
  • As a result of the SPI, more than 750,000 prescription pills were collected and destroyed. 
  • Prescription-related arrests increased notably in the first two years of the SPI grant (78 in 2009 and 92 in 2010, up from 40 in 2008) before dropping to 73 in 2011.
  • By March 2014, more than 340 prescribers and 570 pharmacists had attended training events, with a majority of attendees stating they would modify their practices.