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Nevada Drug Addiction
Nevada Drug Addiction

Drug dependence is a recurring and habitual pattern of substance abuse that causes detrimental personal, professional, and social consequences for a person as a result of using drugs. Drug abuse involves misuse, overuse, and even simply just the use of legal or illegal substances, including illicit street drugs, prescription drugs, over the counter drugs, and any other chemical substance. Nevada drug addiction is at an all-time high. Most officials agree that Nevada drug addiction – most notably in regards to street drugs such as heroin and crystal meth – escalated from the abuse of prescription opioid painkillers, which led many users to turn to heroin as a cheaper, more readily available product.

Addiction is formed through tolerance which develops as the damaged brain requires more and more of the substance to achieve stability as the brain readjusts its need for the addictive chemical reaction. The high produced by most drugs is a short-term event, and it is not uncommon for users to achieve the same extreme highs from one event to the next. In fact, many agree that they never experience the same intense high as the very first time they used, which is often what causes them to set out on a chase for that first high through frequent and reoccurring drug use with increased amounts of the substance each time. With regular abuse of one’s drug of choice, the brain and its chemical structure become altered and change by the effects of the drug, and continued use only serves to further deaden any sensory response to the drug.

Statistics on Drug Use in Nevada

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) reported the following statistics for the state of Nevada. Statistics are based on the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (averaging the totals for the years 2012-2013).

  • Reported Illicit Drug Use (Other Than Marijuana) in the Past Month, for Nevadans over the age of 18, totaled 84,000 in the 2013 NSDUH study.
  • 21,000 Nevada residents over the age of 26 reported cocaine use in the last year.
  • 40,000 residents of the state of Nevada reported being dependent upon drugs in the past year.
  • The number of Nevada residents who reported needing but not receiving treatment for drug abuse or dependence totaled 46,000 in 2013.

Common Drugs of Abuse


Cocaine is a stimulant drug made from coca plant leaves which are native to South America.  It is a Schedule II drug under the United States Controlled Substances Schedule. The definition of a Schedule II drug is “a chemical substance which has a high potential for abuse, and the potential for severe psychological or physical dependence with use. Schedule II drugs are considered dangerous”. The drug takes on different forms including a powder form that is either snorted or dissolved in water for injection, crack cocaine (freebase) is cocaine processed to a rock formation that is smoked.

Cocaine affects the brain by increasing the dopamine levels in the brain, essentially flooding the synapse between the neurons. This amplifies neurotransmitter signal responses and completely disrupts communication within the brain. Signs of cocaine abuse include manic behavior, restlessness, and high-strung behavior patterns. Physical signs may entail a reddened irritated nose, nosebleeds, habitual sniffing, broken blood vessels on or around the nose, rubbing the nose, a loss of appetite, and weight loss.

Short-term health issues include an increased heart rate, narrowed blood vessels, increased in body temperature, headache, enlarged pupils, high blood pressure, sleeplessness, paranoia, abdominal pain, flu-like symptoms, and potentially fatal consequences such as heart attack, seizure, stroke, or coma.

Long-term health consequences include nasal and throat damage, trouble swallowing, decreased blood flow to bodily systems resulting in infection and tissue death, loss of sense of smell, frequent nosebleeds, poor immune function, weight loss, disease and infection of organs, and severe psychological outcomes.

Cocaine Withdrawal: Withdrawal occurs when use is halted. Symptoms of withdrawal include initial depression and flu-like symptoms, extreme tiredness, insomnia or nightmares when asleep, increased appetite, restlessness, slowed thought processes and movements.

Cocaine Addiction Treatment: Cocaine addiction is not treated by any form of medication, although detoxification and withdrawal may include medications to ease the symptoms of withdrawal. Behavioral therapies are the best form of treatment and include cognitive-behavioral programs, 12-step facilitation and group meetings, motivational incentives, the matrix model, relapse prevention training, and individual and group counseling sessions.


Heroin is a synthesized opioid form of morphine. It is a Schedule I drug defined as having no currently accepted medical use and a high abuse potential. Schedule I drugs are considered the most dangerous drugs of all those represented on the drug schedules.

Heroin is known to be either a white or brown powder, or as a thick, tarry black substance known as “black tar heroin.” Heroin can be injected, snorted (inhaled), or smoked. Any of these means rapidly reach the brain.

When heroin reaches the brain, it converts back into morphine. Morphine binds to the opioid receptors in the brain. These receptors involve the perception of reward and pain, and are also involved in controlling automatic processes such as blood pressure and respiration.

Signs that someone may be addicted to, or using, heroin include extreme drowsiness or fatigue, thirst, flushed-skin, and lumbered or heavy movements. Unfortunately, one of the most difficult aspects of heroin use is that often, after the initial rush of use, the user’s demeanor may seem normal for intents and purposes. At times, it may be difficult to tell that there is a problem.

There is not a lot of difference between the short and long term effects of heroin abuse and addiction. Some of the most serious consequences of use, including the deadliest, can happen with the first use. Health effects include pulmonary complications, gastrointestinal cramping, overdose, damage to vital organs, brain damage, respiratory distress, heart attack, stroke, toxicity, infectious diseases, spontaneous abortion, and hypoxia. Chronic heroin use can cause the development of collapsed veins, abscesses, infection of the heart lining and valves, pneumonia, and liver or kidney disease.

Heroin Withdrawal: People who suffer from a heroin dependency experience extreme withdrawal symptoms. The symptoms begin within a few hours of last use. Symptoms may present as restlessness, insomnia, muscle and bone pain, diarrhea, vomiting, extreme chills, kicking, and urgent drug craving.

Heroin Addiction Treatment: Withdrawal from a heroin addiction often requires an extended period of medicated detoxification which commonly uses buprenorphine or methadone to slowly wean the patient from heroin by binding to the cell receptors as heroin would, but in less concentration. This reduces cravings for the drug and eases the symptoms of withdrawal. This process may take months to complete and is often done through intense outpatient treatment and maintenance programs. Other treatments for heroin addiction include behavioral therapies, individual and group counseling, family counseling, addiction education, relapse prevention, and nutritional therapies.

Crystal Meth

Crystal methamphetamine is a Schedule II substance under the Controlled Substances Act. It is a central nervous system stimulant drug developed from the drug amphetamine. Though hardly ever prescribed, it is a legally available with a non-refillable prescription only. It has been prescribed for the treatment of ADHD and very rarely as a short-term weight-loss treatment of extreme nature. It should also be noted that prescribed doses are far lower than those of the drug’s street formulation. Other names it is known by include meth, ice, chalk, and crystal, among others. It is a white, odorless, crystalline powder that is bitter-tasting and dissolves easily in water (or alcohol).

Signs and symptoms of use include increased alertness, wakefulness, insomnia, increased activity, loss of appetite, euphoria, increased respiration, rapid or irregular heartbeat, and hyperthermia.

Long-term use results in serious physical, emotional and especially psychological disturbances that severely impact the user’s life and well-being. These effects include paranoia, repetitive motor activity, hallucinations, psychosis, changes in brain function, mental deficits, poor motor skills, memory loss, violent or aggressive behaviors, mood swings, poor oral hygiene and dental decay, severe weight loss.

Crystal Meth Withdrawal: Methamphetamine withdrawal varies with the level of severity of the abuse. Short-term abuse withdrawal symptoms include extreme fatigue, depression, and a renewed appetite. Longer-term abuse or addiction can include these symptoms in addition to bouts of anxiety, restlessness, agitation, sleep disturbances, vivid dreams and nightmares, and thoughts of suicide.

Crystal Meth Addiction Treatment: Treatment options include inpatient or residential rehab and outpatient programs. Inpatient treatment offers an extended period of supervision for people with moderate to severe drug addictions. Behavioral therapies are effective at treating patients, providing the insight and therapeutic intervention needed to combat the addiction. Cognitive-behavioral therapy, contingency-management interventions, and the Matrix Model of treatment are examples of the types of therapy that is advantageous to meth addicts.

Find Nevada Drug Addiction Treatment Today

It is a sad reality that what those addicted to drugs are seeking is, in actuality, their physical, emotional, and psychological status as it was prior to ever using. If you have decided that it’s time to regain your personal power and the control over your life, then it’s time to call a rehab treatment center. The professional abuse and addiction counselors of the centers in Nevada are available to serve your needs and support your recovery efforts.