Illicit Drug Use in Nevada Ranks High

(Feb. 14 ) -- Nevada ranks among ten states in America where illicit drug use has become an epidemic.

A study recently released surveyed people twelve years old or older who reported using any illicit drugs in the past month.

The substance abuse and mental health services administration released the study, which shows the Silver State is one of ten where drugs are easy to come by. And it's places like West Care where addicts wanting to recover come for help.

A man who asked to go by "John" checked himself into West Care Community Triage Center Monday morning for his addiction to painkillers. "I started smoking pot at 13, tried acid at 15, 18 - coke, 20 it was pills, and now I'm hooked on pills," he said.

"John" is not surprised with Nevada's recent ranking. "No, because in high school there's everything from weed to acid, coke, meth. Kids in high school are selling it."

For some the transfer from street drugs to prescription was simple. "First in the gym, I knew people off the street, then you get tired of buying them off the street and then you go find a doctor, make an appointment and get your prescription," John said.

While John was quick to point out that not all doctors do it, he said his requests were never questioned. "Waited in the waiting room, paid my money went into the room. I said I have bad backaches. I can't sleep. He said no problem, signed my prescription, 180 pills, and I was out the door."

He was out the door with an addiction that can lead to crime among other consequences.

Tim Bedwell, with North Las Vegas Police, said, "Certain things like theft, burglary, making money as an effort to afford drugs, prostitution comes back to drugs and involve drug use."

Eyewitness News did talk to the director of the West Care who says because Nevada does not have a state income tax in place, there is no money for social programs that other states have for prevention.


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