Helios Lab launches in Reno to fight Nevada’s opioid epidemic
RENO, Nev. — In an effort to help address Nevada’s opioid-abuse problem, a group of Reno-area medical professionals recently opened Helios Lab, described as “the first locally-owned and operated laboratory specializing in urine drug monitoring with a philanthropic focus.”
Located in South Reno, Helios offers compliance-based solutions following federal, state and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines, according to a Dec. 18 news release from East Public Relations. Further, the company announced plans to donate 10 percent of its annual income to local nonprofits that support individuals and families affected by opioid abuse.
“We founded Helios with a commitment to help change the face of the opioid epidemic in Nevada while supporting the organizations that are on the front lines through community partnerships,” Tes Sewell, co-founder of Helios Lab, said in a statement.
Sewell, owner of the Reno-based home care agency Assisting Independence LLC, founded Helios Lab with two partners: Dr. Ali Nairizi, a board-certified anesthesiologist and interventional pain specialist with a master’s in cellular and molecular physiology; and Dr. Randall Goode, a board-certified anesthesiologist, and a member of the American Board of Pain Medicine.
Michelle Goode rounds out the Helios team as Chief Compliance Officer.
According to the lab’s website, Helios was created in response to Nevada Assembly Bill 474 becoming law in January 2018. The bill was designed to enhance the reporting of drug overdoses, create more controls on the prescribing of restricted substances, more efficiently track those prescriptions and to allow for disciplinary action for practitioners not meeting the required minimum standards concerning the prescription of controlled substances.
According to the release, Helios Lab will provide tools and resources for medical professionals to confidently manage chronic opioid patients and safely prescribe opioids or non-opioid alternatives.
Through funding, education and communication, Helios also plans to help align the common goals and efforts of patients, medical professionals, law enforcement, legislators and other community groups.
According to the CDC, yhe prescription rate for opioids in Nevada is 87.5 per 100 residents, significantly higher than the national average of 66.5 per 100.
In 2017, 388 people died in an opioid-related way in a Nevada hospital, according to a Nevada Opioid Surveillance report by the Department of Health and Human Services, and 7,125 were hospitalized.
“Fighting the opioid epidemic in Nevada has been one of my top priorities for the last few years and continues to be of great concern to me,” Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval said in a statement. ”We have made good strides through policy changes and enhancements as well as collaboration between the public and private partnerships and the medical community. I am pleased to see the opening of Helios Labs as a new resource to medical professionals prescribing pain management.”
The lab is located in South Reno; when asked for a specific location, Tiffany East, of East Public Relations, said via email to the NNBV that, “for security reasons, we aren’t revealing the address at this time.”
Go to heliosnv.com to learn more about Helios Labs.
“I point out many cases of where privately owned companies do just as bad a job as publicly owned companies,” says Reno resident and former teacher Robert (R.D.) Gardner.