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Prescription Drug Addiction in Nevada

Prescription drugs are effective at treating a variety of medical conditions by relieving pain, alleviating anxiety and panic, or even improving concentration. Unfortunately, these medications also have the power to be abused, as most prescriptions drugs offer some form of desirable effects. Prescription drug addiction in Nevada is a prevalent issue that impacts the lives of many people across the state. Many residents are in need of quality treatment but fail to get or accept the help they need.

People of all ages struggle with prescription drug addiction in Nevada. If you or a loved one is dependent on or abusing prescription drugs, the professionals at Drug Treatment Centers Nevada can help you achieve and new, healthy life of sobriety. Call us today to speak with an admissions counselors about starting the journey of recovery.

Understanding Prescription Drug Abuse and Dependence

Prescription drug abuse occurs when a person takes medication intended for someone else or uses it for purposes other than intended. The U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) classifies medications with the potential for abuse into categories or “schedules.” Those classified as Schedule I drugs are illegal, serve no current medical purpose and have the greatest potential for abuse. Schedule V drugs, on the other hand, also have the potential for abuse, but the risk for this is seen as much less than Schedule I, II, III, and IV drugs.

Any chemical substance can be abused, and abuse of any scheduled drug can lead to a severe dependence or addiction. The risk for addiction caused by drug abuse depends highly on the person, their drug of choice, and the manner in which they abuse the substance.

The State of Prescription Drug Addiction in Nevada

According to an interview with John Martin, of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), with the Las Vegas Sun, one 30-milligram OxyContin tablet sells on the streets of Las Vegas for $20 each. In the interview, Martin stated that Las Vegas dealers obtain these pills through forged prescriptions, robberies and purchasing pills from those with real prescriptions. From 2010 to 2012, Nevada doctors wrote more than 1.1 million prescriptions for painkillers, according to the Las Vegas Sun.

Opiates other than heroin are the fourth-most responsible drugs for inpatient drug treatment admissions in Nevada, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). Nearly 500 Nevadans sought treatment for prescription opiate addictions in 2010. Tranquilizers and sedatives were the fifth and sixth-most responsible drugs for drug treatment admissions.

According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, the state of Nevada ranks in the top twenty percent of people in all four age groups who abuse pain relievers for non-medical purposes.

For many of those who abuse intravenous drugs, such as heroin, many of them often began as prescription drug users, according to Ken Furlong, Carson City Sheriff, interviewed on KTVN television.

“Every time we’ve arrested someone who happens to have a bad heroin addiction, you will almost always find at the root of that a prescription pill addiction before the heroin came on.”

Commonly Abused Prescription Drugs

The Clark County Office of the Coroner/Medical Examiner reported that 64 percent of people who overdose on prescription drugs are between 36 and 64 years old. The prescription drugs most commonly responsible for overdose deaths in the country are methadone, oxycodone, and hydrocodone. Other drugs abused include morphine, opiates, and fentanyl. However, those who overdose may have between 4 and 14 different drugs in their systems at the time of their death. Of the overdoses recorded, 85 percent are accidental deaths. It is important for those suffering from prescription drug addiction Nevada to reach out for professional help as soon as possible. The longer a prescription drug dependence goes left untreated, the more likely it is that the person will suffer an accidental overdose or develop an addiction so severe that management over the disorder will seem nearly impossible.


Opiate medications are those that doctors prescribe to relieve pain. In most instances, they are intended for short-term use. However, some people may take medications for chronic pain. Examples of opiate medications include oxycodone, hydrocodone, morphine, and hydromorphone.

Signs and Symptoms of Abuse: Opiates can make a person feel sleepy and “slowed-down. Common symptoms of opiate abuse can include sleep deprivation, watery eyes, slurred speech, flu-like symptoms, personality changes, clumsiness, poor work or school performance, reckless behaviors and forgetfulness.

Categories of Prescription Drugs: Most opiates are in the Schedule II drug category. This category means the drugs are legal with a prescription, but have a high potential for abuse.

Health Risks: Abuse of opiates can lead to overdose, death and/or brain damage. Opiates depress the respiratory system, which can cause a person to stop breathing. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, opiate abuse can also cause long-term brain damage, including affecting the areas of the brain associated with decision making and behavior.

Treatment Options: Treatment options for opiate addiction include medications, such as methadone and Suboxone, which are designed to reduce the euphoria a person may experience when taking opiates. Behavioral health counseling and support groups can also help.


Sedatives are medications doctors prescribe to relieve anxiety, result in sedative-like effects and create muscle relaxation. Examples of sedatives include benzodiazepines, such as alprazolam (Xanax), lorazepam (Ativan) and diazepam (Valium).

Signs and Symptoms of Abuse: Signs a person may be abusing sedatives include confusion, dizziness, weakness, slurring of speech, trouble breathing, poor coordination, and drowsiness. People may also experience personality changes, such as poor work and/or school performance.

Categories of Prescription Drugs: A majority of sedatives fall in the Schedule IV category, meaning they aren’t as addictive as some drugs, yet do have a potential for abuse. Also, some people combine sedatives with other drugs or substances, such as alcohol, to increase its effects.

Health Risks: Health risks associated with chronic sedative abuse include anxiety, difficulty sleeping, poor appetite, headaches and muscle weakness.

Treatment Options: Drug rehabilitation facilities can create a personalized tapering plan to slowly reduce a person’s sedative intake to minimize cravings and withdrawal symptoms.


Stimulant medications are often prescribed to improve attention span or curb appetite and promote weight loss. Examples of these medicines include Ritalin and Adderall.

Signs and Symptoms of Abuse: Stimulants cause an increase in the neurotransmitter dopamine, which can lead to withdrawal symptoms when abused. Examples of symptoms associated with abuse include fatigue, depression and affected sleep.

Categories of Prescription Drugs: Stimulants are Schedule II drugs, which means they have a high potential for abuse.

Health Risks: Stimulants can increase a person’s blood pressure, raise heart rate and increase body temperature, decrease appetite and reduce a person’s ability to sleep.

Treatment Options: Like sedatives, tapering plans are often a treatment approach for those in Nevada that are addicted to stimulants. This approach can help a person reduce his or her addiction while minimizing withdrawal symptoms.

Start your Recovery From Prescription Drug Addiction in Nevada today!

If you are dealing with a prescription drug addiction in Nevada and have a strong desire to stop using, there are top rated rehab facilities in the state that are readily available to help. Put an end to the destructive cycle of addiction and take your life back today by calling the professionals at drug treatment centers Nevada.