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Nevada is a state located in the western, mountain west, and southwestern regions of the U.S. Nevada is the 7th most extensive, 35th most populous, and the 9th least densely populated state in the country. Over two-thirds of Nevada residents reside in Clark County, which contains the Las VegasParadise metropolitan area. The state capital is Carson City. As of 2012 the estimated population of Nevada was 2,758,931, a 2.2% increase since 2010. As of 2006 census estimates, Nevada is the eighth fastest growing state in the nation, and Henderson and North Las Vegas are among the USA's top 20 fastest-growing cities of over 100,000.

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Nevada Drug Use Trends

The state of Nevada is located in the southwestern portion of the United States and is the 7th most extensive state in the nation. The center of population in the state is Clark County, home to the famed city of Las Vegas. The state of Nevada is mainly made up of desert and largely semiarid and much of the state is located in the Great Basin. Lake Tahoe and the Sierra Nevada are located of the Western edge of Nevada, and surprisingly most of the state's land is managed by various federal government jurisdictions both civilian and military. Residents in the state of Nevada struggle with very specific substance abuse issues, and the non-medical use of prescription drugs is killing residents at an all time high.


Drinking starts at a very early age for Nevada residents, and according to recent surveys over one-quarter of Nevada high school students say that they consumed their first alcoholic drink before the age of 13, over 4% higher than the national average. Over 17% of Nevada residents admit to binge drinking within the past month, and this results in many consequences particularly in regards to drinking and driving. Unfortunately, 14% of Nevadans report having driven after drinking in the past 60 days and in 2009 there were 15,234 arrests for DUI in the state.


Nevada ranks in the highest quintile in the nation in regards to illicit drug dependence or abuse, as well as the highest quintile for needing but not receiving treatment for illicit drug use. As mentioned above, the non-medical abuse of prescription drugs is a primary drug problem in Nevada, with prescription pain killers in particular being the most serious and deadly. As a consequence, the rate of drug-induced deaths in Nevada is higher than the national average and in 2009 twice as many people died from prescription drug overdoses in Clark County, Nevada than those who died as a result of illicit street drugs. Nearly all prescription overdose deaths were a result of prescription pain killer overdose including Fentanyl, morphine, methadone, oxycodone and hydrocodone. Illicit drugs are a problem also however, and overdose deaths where these types of drugs are involved are mostly caused by methamphetamine (73%) or cocaine (34%).


Because the substance abuse problem in Nevada is so deadly, it is crucial that early intervention be an essential aspect of the solution as well quality drug rehab programs being made available before it is too late. When looking for a quality drug rehab program in Nevada, it is important to understand that with the types of drugs that individuals are abusing in the state, intensive treatment is needed beginning with professional detox services. However, much more time will be needed for individuals who are dependent to prescription drugs, meth, cocaine or what have you to be able to have the wherewithal to be able to live a drug free life when the individual returns home. There are programs in Nevada which provide essential behavioral therapy and life skills training, and actually resolve the causes of addiction so that this is possible. This takes time however, and won't happen overnight. So inpatient and residential programs which provide a 90-120 stay in the state are the programs to consider as the primary option, and in many cases such treatment is even covered through private health insurance.

Population in Nevada:2,414,807
State Prison Population in Nevada:11,365
Probation Population in Nevada:12,521
Violent Crime Rate in Nevada:
National Ranking:8
2007 Federal Drug Seizures in Nevada:
Cocaine seizures in Nevada:52.2kgs.
Heroin seizures in Nevada:0.1 kgs.
Methamphetamine seizures in Nevada:27.3 kgs./950 du
Marijuana seizures in Nevada:43.5 kgs.
Hashish seizures in Nevada:0.0 kgs.
MDMA seizures in Nevada:0.0 kgs./20,875 du
Meth Lab Incidents in Nevada:13
(DEA, Nevada, and local city Law Enforcement)
Drug Situation in Nevada:
  • Methamphetamine, specifically crystal methamphetamine produced in Mexico and imported into Nevada, has become the main drug of concern in Nevada.
  • Cocaine, particularly crack cocaine, is also a primary drug of concern in the urban regions of Nevada.
  • Due to its close proximity to California and its porous border, Nevada often acts as a transshipment point for various drugs to the central and eastern sections of the United States.
  • There has also been a notable increase in deaths (total of 107 for all of CY06) from diverted pharmaceuticals in Nevada.

  • Cocaine HCl is somewhat available in northern Nevada and easily available throughout southern Nevada.
  • Cocaine HCl is brought into Nevada mainly from California via ground transportation.
  • Southern Nevada, specifically Las Vegas, acts as a transshipment point for cocaine HCl with distribution points across the U.S.
  • Crack cocaine is readily available in the urban regions of Nevada.
  • African American street gangs control most of the distribution market for crack cocaine in Nevada and base their operations in inexpensive motel rooms and apartments located in impoverished areas throughout Nevada's larger cities.

  • Mexican black tar heroin is the most prevalent heroin available in Nevada.
  • The Clark County portion of the Nevada HIDTA controlled by Mexican nationals has been an increase of Mexican black tar heroin.
  • Mexican poly-drug trafficking organizations control the heroin trafficking in Nevada.
  • Mexican DTOs continue to recruit Mexican nationals to live in the urban regions of Nevada to distribute heroin for the organization.
  • User amounts of low purity black tar heroin remain available in Nevada from low-level Mexican national suppliers and are most often distributed in open air markets.
  • Mexican Brown Heroin is somewhat available in Clark County, Nevada and its distribution is also controlled by Mexican Nationals.

  • Meth is the most often encountered drug in Nevada and remains available in both personal use and distribution amounts.
  • Nevada is a point of importation and also a transshipment location for methamphetamine.
  • The manufacture of methamphetamine in Nevada occurs on a small scale.
  • The meth imported into Nevada is produced mainly in "super labs" (producing 10 pounds or more in a 24-hour period) by Mexican drug trafficking organizations operating in Mexico and California.
  • Meth is brought into Nevada primarily via ground transportation.
  • Organized Mexican poly-drug trafficking groups corner the market of the large-scale meth trade in Nevada.
  • Distributor levels of imported methamphetamine average in pound quantities or greater in Nevada.
  • Mexican produced crystal methamphetamine is the most available type of meth in Nevada and purity levels have decreased from the 90 percent to 99 percent range to the 50% range.
  • Local meth manufacturing in Nevada continues to produce small quantities, usually under one ounce per cook.
  • Laboratories seized recently in Nevada were utilizing the pseudoephedrine, red phosphorus, and iodine method to manufacture methamphetamine.
  • There were 13 meth lab incidents in Nevada in 2007.

  • The problem of "club drugs" in Nevada ranges from sporadic in the northern urban areas to readily available in cities located in the southern section of the state, mainly Las Vegas.
  • MDMA, GHB, and LSD are trafficked and abused in local nightclubs, adult entertainment clubs, and at raves in Nevada.
  • The trafficking of club drugs in Nevada ranges from hand-to-hand sales within clubs or raves to larger sales between locals and out-of-town distributors.
  • Las Vegas, Nevada serves as a point of importation and a transshipment area for MDMA.
  • The majority of the MDMA that passes through or is destined for Las Vegas, Nevada continues to come mainly from southern California and New York.
  • Some reports show that Asian drug trafficking organizations are responsible for a significant amount of MDMA distribution throughout Nevada.
  • MDMA destined for Las Vegas comes mainly from southern California and the San Francisco area.

  • Domestically grown and Mexican-grown marijuana remains easily available in Nevada.
  • Mexican poly-drug trafficking organizations remain the primary source of marijuana smuggled into Nevada, mainly from California via ground transport.
  • There has been an increase in indoor marijuana cultivation in the Las Vegas, Nevada area during the past year.
  • Growers are using elaborate hydroponic equipment to cultivate high-grade marijuana in Nevada.
  • In June 2001, Assembly Bill 4was approved into law and Nevada became the ninth state in the U.S. where patients can use marijuana for medicinal purposes. In addition, the new state law, which went into effect October 1, 2001, decriminalizes possession of small amounts (ounce quantity or less) of marijuana, which was previously a state felony in Nevada.

  • Current reports show that diversion of OxyContin continues to be a problem in Nevada.
  • The main methods of diversion of pharmaceuticals being reported in Nevada are illegal sale and distribution by health care professionals and workers, and "doctor shopping".
  • Hydrocodone products, methadone, Actiq (fentanyl) and benzodiazepines (such as Xanax and Valium) were identified as being among the most commonly abused and diverted pharmaceuticals in Nevada.
  • The pharmaceutical controlled drugs of choice in Nevada are hydrocodone, Xanax, codeine, diazepam, Ketamine, Lortab, and oxycodone.
  • Drug combinations which are abused in the state of Nevada are Lortab and Soma and Lortab and benzodiazepines.
  • Non-controlled substances which are also apparently being abused in Nevada are Soma and Ultram.
  • The primary method of diversion in Nevada is the illegal purchase of controlled substances via Internet pharmacies.
  • Prescription fraud is on the rise in both the Las Vegas and Reno areas of Nevada.
  • Pseudoephedrine sales are reportedly down in Nevada due to a new law adding pseudoephedrine to the Nevada Controlled Substance list passed in December 2001.

  • In 1995 a program was created known as the DEA Mobile Enforcement Teams, or "MET". This was in response to the overwhelming problem of drugs and drug-related crimes across the nation. There have been three MET deployments in the State of Nevada since the inception of the program, in Reno, Carson City, and Las Vegas.
  • There were 171 drug violation arrests in Nevada in 2007.

  • The Clark County High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) in Nevada was established by the Office of National Drug Control Policy in 2001 to fight the influx of drug trafficking in southern Nevada. In order to help solve the meth problem in southern Nevada, a HIDTA initiative, the Southern Nevada Joint Methamphetamine Task Force, was created to address domestic trafficking organizations and career criminal enterprises which are involved in the manufacture of methamphetamine and the transport and distribution of meth and precursor chemicals within and through the HIDTA area of operation. The primary focus of this task force will be the dismantling and federal prosecution of these organized drug and precursor chemical trafficking groups.

State Policy Offices : Nevada

  • Governor's Office Office of the Governor
    Capitol Complex
    Carson City, NV 89710
    (702) 687-5670
  • State Legislative Contact Legislative Counsel Bureau
    Legislative Building, Room 148
    401 South Carson Street
    Carson City, NV 89710
    (702) 687-5668
  • State Drug Program Coordinator Coordinator of Drug and Alcohol Programs
    State of Nevada
    Las Vegas, NV 89158
    (702) 486-4181

State Criminal Justice Offices : Nevada

  • Attorney General's Office Heroes Memorial Building
    198 South Carson Street
    Carson City, NV 89710
    (702) 687-4170
  • Law Enforcement Planning Department of Motor Vehicles and Public Safety
    555 Wright Way
    Carson City, NV 89711-0900
    (702) 885-5375
  • Crime Prevention Offices Nevada Crime Prevention Association
    400 East Stewart Street
    Las Vegas, NV 89101
    (702) 386-3507
  • Attorney General's Office Community Crime Prevention
    Capitol Complex
    Carson City, NV 89710
    (702) 687-4170
  • Statistical Analysis Center Records and Identification Services
    Nevada Highway Patrol
    555 Wright Way
    Carson City, NV 89711-0585
    (702) 687-5713
  • BJA Strategy Preparation Agency Nevada Division of Investigation
    555 Wright Way
    Carson City, NV 89711-0100
    (702) 687-4412
  • Judicial Agency Administrative Office of the Courts
    Capitol Complex
    Carson City, NV 89710
    (702) 687-5076
  • Corrections Agency Department of Prisons
    P.O. Box 7000
    Carson City, NV 89702
    (702) 887-3285

State Health Offices : Nevada

  • RADAR Network Agency Department of Employment, Training & Rehabilitation
  • Bureau of Alcohol and Drug Abuse Rehabilitation Division
    505 East King Street, Suite 500
    Carson City, NV 89710
    (702) 687-4790
  • HIV-Prevention Program Nevada State Health Division
    Bureau of Disease Control and Intervention Services
    Capitol Complex
    505 East King Street, Room 104
    Carson City, NV 89710
    (702) 687-4804
  • Drug and Alcohol Agency Statewide Program Coordinator
    Bureau of Alcohol and Drug Abuse
    Department of Employment, Training & Rehabilitation
    Kinkead Building
    505 East King Street, Room 500
    Carson City, NV 89710
    (702) 687-4790

State Education Office : Nevada

  • State Coordinator for Drug-Free Schools State Department of Education
    Office of Public Instruction
    Capitol Complex
    Carson City, NV 89710
    (702) 687-3100

Nevada: Substance Abuse Trends & Statistics

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Behavioral Health Barometer:

Nevada: Substance Abuse Resources

Drug Rehab Nevada INevada Division of Public and Behavioral Health

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