Report: Nevada fourth highest for drug overdose deaths

LAS VEGAS - Drug abuse is leading to more deaths in Nevada.  A new study puts the state as the fourth highest for overdose deaths.

The same report says on average there are 21.6 deaths for every 100,000 people making drug abuse the leading cause for fatal injuries. 

The biggest issue in Clark County right now is heroin. 

Overdoses associated with this drug have more than doubled in the last 10 years.  The coroner's office says the county’s on pace to break another record this year.

Dan Mager, who's been clean for nine years now, says he's been addicted to pain killers most of his life.  Mager says his first taste of drugs was when he was 12 years old and needed something to help his headache.

"A family member gave me Percocet," Mager said.

Mager said his addiction took a turn for the worse when he was diagnosed with chronic back pain in the late 1990's.

"I was able to take the medication as prescribed for the first two months," said Mager.

The father of two said he contemplated doing heroin to get his fix.  He said it was the love for his daughters that kept him from going down that road.

"Many people segway from prescription opioid pain medication to heroin," Mager said.

"Heroin is extremely potent, so it gives you a stronger high," said Dr. Mel Pohl, the Medical Director of Las Vegas Recovery Center.  "It's cheaper."

So far this year, 36 people have died from overdosing on heroin in Clark County.  From 2004 to 2014, heroin overdose deaths increased by 128-percent.

That's a big problem. We're seeing a lot of increase in heroin use and abuse," said John Fudenberg, Clark County Coroner.

Despite the increase in heroin use, overall, deadly drug overdoses have seen a slight dip in the last three years.  However, they're up more than 25 percent from just 10 years ago.

"It never surprises me that Nevada has high incidents of substance use disorders or deaths," Dr. Pohl said.


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