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Las Vegas Has Its Demons: Fentanyl, Meth, and Heroin

by Landmark Recovery

October 15, 2021
las vegas drugs

Nicknamed “Sin City,” Las Vegas is home to the famous Las Vegas Strip, world class resorts, renowned shows, the Raiders and, of course, flamingos. It is also famous for being a place to explore and splurge, including heavy drinking and illicit drugs. Unfortunately, Las Vegas news outlets have been reporting on the mental health crisis and the rise of drug overdoses for years, and 2020 was no different.

The Las Vegas Sun recently reported a total of 760 deaths in the Las Vegas Valley due to drug overdose, a 30% increase from 2019 to 2020. In Clark County alone, 219 deaths were a direct result of fentanyl-laced pills. This was triple the number of fentanyl-related deaths reported the previous year.

Fentanyl: A Silent Killer

Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid 80 to 100 times more potent than heroin. It is a silent killer steadily claiming the lives of unsuspecting users. Because the pills so closely resemble the legitimate prescription, fentanyl victims don’t realize the drug is being laced or mixed into their counterfeit prescription pills, not to mention the heroin they are buying on the street.

The issue with fentanyl in Las Vegas and Nevada became so severe in 2020 that the entire state was placed on “red alert.” This warning made Nevada one of 28 states at high risk of opioid-related overdoses and deaths; in the history of the United States, a record 93,000 people died nationwide of drug overdoses in 2020.

The DEA seized 50,000 fentanyl pills in 2020. Part of the reason for the excess of fentanyl in Las Vegas? The city is on the pills’ trafficking route making their way from Mexico.

Methamphetamine and heroin also have become devious substances in the city. The recent resurgence of meth use has greatly impacted Las Vegas and Clark County. Since 2015, the number of meth-related emergency department visits in Clark County has roughly doubled, and the number of inpatient hospital admissions related to meth has nearly tripled. Also extremely addictive and dangerous, heroin is more accessible – cheaper and easier to find – than prescription pills.

Rescuing Las Vegas Residents from Overdose

In response to the continuing overdose crisis in Las Vegas in 2020, fire and rescue crews were dispatched roughly 5,000 times specifically for overdose calls. This is compared to 4,000 in 2019.

Firefighters reported administering Narcan – the brand name of naloxone, an opioid that reverses an overdose – over 1,044 times in 2020. They expect they will surpass that number this year; by September 2021, they had already resuscitated over 800 people.

Another difficult reality: many who had overdosed passed away before help arrived. One EMS field coordinator was quoted by the Las Vegas Sun saying, “This is real, and we aren’t winning.”

Thankfully, Nevada has the Good Samaritan Immunity Law, which was signed into effect in 2015. The law allows for the widespread use of naloxone and prevents charges for minor drug crimes when someone seeks help for an overdose.

Alcoholism in Las Vegas Also an Issue

Alcohol abuse stats in Nevada are also high. In 2019, there were 1,617 drug treatment center admissions for alcohol addiction in Nevada, nearly 15% of all admissions to substance abuse treatment centers in the state.

A growing number of impaired drivers in Las Vegas have been found to be both drunk and high. Police are discovering a mix of alcohol and illegal drugs in drivers’ systems, what they are calling a “deadly cocktail.” In the roughly 2,300 arrests made for drugged driving in the last year, 70% involved marijuana, 28% prescription drugs, and 25% meth. And in one specific case in 2020, an intoxicated driver had meth and six different prescription drugs in their system.

Drug & Alcohol Detox and Rehab in Las Vegas

Those who have a dependence on opioids, alcohol, or illicit drugs can – in fact – live healthy and productive lives again! But it is incredibly important to not detox alone and to seek professional help.

Landmark’s science-backed inpatient rehab and outpatient rehab programs utilize partial hospitalization, residential treatment, individual & group therapy, as well as an abundance of proven behavioral therapy models.

Landmark Recovery of Las Vegas offers hope for those struggling with addiction by providing a continuum of drug & alcohol addiction treatment, beginning with detox. Alcohol detox or drug detox at a professional detox center under medical supervision is highly recommended due to the life-threatening health complications that can arise during withdrawal. Landmark Recovery’s detox program is positioned to treat alcohol, drugs, and co-occurring disorders.

Following detox, personalized drug & alcohol rehab programs at Landmark include peer support groups, medication management, health and wellness education, family counseling, mindfulness and meditation-based therapies, and a variety of fitness activities.

Call Landmark Recovery of Las Vegas

For anyone experiencing the devastating cycle of addiction and withdrawal, Landmark Recovery of Las Vegas offers the highest quality of professional care at half the cost. If you are struggling to cope with addiction or substance abuse, you are not alone. There are resources that can help you begin your journey back to wellness. Reach out to Landmark Recovery of Las Vegas today.

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About the Author

Landmark Recovery

Landmark Recovery

Landmark Recovery was founded with a determination to make addiction treatment accessible for all. Through our integrated treatment programs, we've helped thousands of people choose recovery over addiction and get back to life on their own terms. We're on a mission to save one million lives over the next century. We encourage all those struggling with substance use to seek professional help.