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Drug Addiction in Nevada

For several years, Nevada has consistently ranked in the top 10 for illegal drug abuse in the United States. Drug abuse in the state of Nevada includes a wide range of substances, including prescription opioids and illicit street drugs such as methamphetamine, heroin, cocaine, and marijuana. An estimated 9.35 percent of Nevada residents report using some form of illegal drugs in the past month, according to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health. Substance abuse among residents has led to high rates of drug addiction in Nevada, and as a direct result, there is an undeniable need for increased access to addiction treatment.

The abuse of any chemical substance is dangerous and damaging to a person’s physical and mental health, and also presents many legal risks. This is especially true for illicit street drugs, as these are often administered through injection to the vein, which can lead to heart infections and intravenous-associated medical conditions, such as HIV/AIDS and hepatitis. Drug addiction in Nevada is an evident and exponentially growing problem, as the number of drug overdose deaths rises with each year that passes and admittance rates at drug rehab centers continue to climb.

If you or someone you love is struggling and in need of quality drug addiction treatment, the specialists at Drug Treatment Centers Nevada can help. Our addiction counselors are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to provide you with the information and support you need to start the journey of recovery.

The State of Street Drug Abuse and Addiction in Nevada

According to the Reno Gazette-Journal, heroin sold on the streets in Reno goes for $15 a fix while prescription pills are sold for as much as $80 a pill. Heroin is becoming progressively more deadly with time in the state of Nevada. According to the Division of Public and Behavioral Health, heroin was responsible for 50 deaths in Nevada in 2012, which is about 7 percent of all drug deaths in the state. Nevada has seen an annual increase in heroin mortality rates in the five years since.

When a person starts using heroin, the highly addictive nature of the drug can quickly lead to the development of an addiction – one that a person may ultimately struggle with for a lifetime.

“To me, that’s the scariest thing about heroin,” says Sergeant Ron Chalmers with the Reno Police in an interview with the Reno Gazette-Journal, “that addiction grows so quickly and is very, very difficult to overcome.”

According to KOLO-8 News, in Nevada, more than 1,632.5 grams of heroin were seized in 2012, which is an increase from 2007 when 57 grams of heroin were seized.

While heroin abuse is a serious problem and currently of greatest concern in Nevada, the most commonly abused drug in the state over the last decade was the stimulant drug known as methamphetamine. According to the Nevada Department of Corrections, meth was considered a factor in the crimes of 40 percent of incarcerated men and 72 percent of incarcerated women. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), stimulants like methamphetamine are responsible for more than 1,800 inpatient drug treatment admissions in Nevada.

According to SAMHSA, the rate of drug-induced deaths in Nevada is 9 percent, which is 1 percent higher than the national average. With heroin and prescription drug addiction in Nevada continuing to plague its residents to such a profound degree, it is of little surprise that the state has one of the highest opioid overdose death rates in the entire country. For this reason, Nevada was just recently granted $5.6 million by the federal government to fund the fight again the opioid addiction crisis.

Commonly Abused Illicit Street Drugs

Three commonly abused street drugs in Nevada are cocaine, methamphetamine, and heroin. These drugs are examined in greater detail below.


Cocaine is a powder and stimulant that increases the amount of dopamine in the brain, which can create euphoria and strong cravings for the drug.

Signs and Symptoms of Abuse: Symptoms of cocaine abuse include heightened energy, rapid breathing, nausea, bizarre behavior, euphoria, anxiety, paranoia, and panic.

Categories of Prescription Drugs: Cocaine is an illegal drug belonging to the Schedule I drug category.

Effects on the Brain: Cocaine is a stimulant that increases a person’s energy level and focus, along with increasing the amount of dopamine in the body.

Health Risks: Cocaine can be a highly deadly drug. Examples of its effects include high blood pressure, strokes, damage to the blood vessels in the heart and brain, weight loss, psychosis and severe depression. Using cocaine even one time can lead to sudden death if the drug is abused in too-high dosages.

Treatment Options: While the FDA has not approved medications for the treatment of cocaine abuse, a rehabilitation facility can provide treatments, which include behavioral therapy and group therapy.


Heroin is an opiate medication that can produce euphoria, lessen anxiety relief, and relieve pain.

Signs and Symptoms of Abuse: Signs of heroin abuse can include muscle relaxation, slurred speech, impaired memory and poor decision-making. Those abusing heroin may appear very sleepy and lethargic.

Categories of Prescription Drugs: Heroin is a Schedule I drug, which means that the drug is illegal and has no known medical uses.

Effects on the Brain: Heroin is a central nervous depressant, which causes slowed-down body functions. It specifically acts on the opioid receptors in the brain.

Health Risks: Dangers of heroin abuse include lung damage, risks to the heart, impaired thinking and memory and kidney failure.

Treatment Options: The FDA has approved treatment medications for heroin abuse. These include methadone and Suboxone. These medications can reduce the euphoria and cravings associated with using heroin. However, heroin addiction is very hard to break and can require group therapy as well as individual counseling as well.

Crystal Meth

Crystal meth is a stimulant like cocaine while heroin is a central nervous system depressant. Its effects are considered to be longer-lasting than those of cocaine. Examples of forms of methamphetamine are powder, crystal, and rock. Slang terms for meth include ice, rock, crank, trash, quartz and white crunch.

Signs and Symptoms of Abuse: Meth is a highly addictive drug. Examples of symptoms a meth user may display include rapid eye movements, dilated pupils, sudden weight loss, tooth decay, skin sores, skin scarring, chemical-like body odors, anxiety, paranoia, and jitters. Those who abuse meth are also prone to violent outbursts and moodiness. For this reason, the Nevada Attorney General’s office does not recommend confronting a meth user, but instead, seeking professional assistance from an intervention specialist at Drug Treatment Centers Nevada.

Categories of Drugs: Methamphetamine in the form of crystal meth is an illegal drug in Schedule I.

Effects on the Brain: Meth’s effects include draining the body of energy needed for the vital organs and causing a person to feel euphoria and tremendous energy that can be followed by an extreme crash.

Health Risks: Meth is a very risky drug to abuse. It can cause long-term health effects, such as severe depression, brain damage, violent paranoia and other physical effects, such as skin sores and infections of the heart.

Treatment Options: The FDA has not approved medications for the treatment of methamphetamines. However, rehabilitation centers can provide counseling that can help a person learn to live a life free from methamphetamine abuse.

Start your recovery from drug addiction in Nevada today!

If you are dependent on or abuse drugs and in need of quality addiction treatment, the professionals at certified Drug Treatment Centers Nevada are readily available to help. Seeking addiction treatment from a top-rated drug rehab facility can offer you the necessary care and support to help turn your life around. Do not spend another day suffering from a drug dependence on your own. Call us today to speak with our admissions counselors to begin your recovery journey.