People from all walks of life struggle with drug addiction and, in the city that never sleeps, prescription drug abuse and misuse thrives in Las Vegas.
Individuals end up taking prescription pain medications for a variety of reasons.
And probably the biggest key factor is that street peddlers and hustlers take advantage of the situation and realize that dealing in prescription drugs can be very profitable.
There are controls in place to help control prescription drug misuse and abuse.
Unfortunately, the awareness measures undertaken actually creates a double-edged sword.
People that need prescription pain medications to control their pain and live a productive life are often caught in the crossfire.
They live in fear that the “life-saving” prescription drugs they have taken for years will suddenly be taken away from them because physicians are now much more reluctant to prescribe these medications to the very people that truly need them.
These factors are part of the reason that more people, even those who are or were considered to be law abiding citizens, purchase these types of medications on the internet or on the streets.
The downturn in the Las Vegas economy, or any economy for that matter, can often fuel a feeling of hopelessness.
In the small town of Oceana, W.Va, better known as Oxyana, prescription drug abuse is rampant.
So much so that the town has been dubbed the unofficial “Oxycodone capital”, thus the unflattering nickname.
Oceana, a small town of 1,500 or so residents, was once a thriving town.
As the economy plummeted, drugs became a part of everyday life.
They helped people cope with the dreary economy and the more enterprising ones realized that there was substantial money to be made in drug dealing.
Although many prescription meds can offer a lifeline and a quality of life to those that truly need them, these very lifesaving medications are highly addictive and unscrupulous, conniving individuals capitalize on it to make their living.
That type of lifestyle is not unique to Oxyana,
A person with legitimate pain, for example, who can no longer obtain a prescription from their doctor can spend hundreds or even thousands of dollars a month for their “medication” .
Since these types of transactions are not covered by their insurance, if they even have insurance, they often become desperate for money and will resort to criminal activities, including street prostitution, to support their habit.
In 2012, the Clark County Coroner reported 522 drug-related deaths.
Some were accidental and others were attributed to suicide.
Surprisingly, the majority of drug-related deaths were not from street drugs. They were from prescription medications.
It’s a trend that has been noticed in cities across the US.
Of the 191 deaths were attributed to street drugs, 182 were ruled as accidental and nine deaths were because they committed suicide.
Prescription medications resulted in 331 deaths in 2012.
Most of the deaths (270) were ruled as accidental, but 61 deaths were ruled as suicides.
The average age of those who died from prescription medication was 47 years old.
The latest figures from the C lark County Coroner’s office also state that the four most commonly used prescription medications discovered in individuals of Rx-related deaths are:
Prescription drug abuse and misuse thrives in Las Vegas and, unfortunately, will continue to do so.
Legitimate pain patients who need their medications face what seems to be an uphill, never-ending battle because doctors that are fearful of losing their license if they prescribe pain medication so the “black market” thrives.
There are many programs available for those needing assistance with prescription drug abuse and misuse as well as those wanting to stop using street drugs.
The programs range from free to extremely expensive.
Mike Z. from the Free Addition Helpline said that callers can visit their website or call their 24-hour free and confidential hotline at 1-866-925-7411 to explore available treatment options.
The Partnership for Prescription Drug Assistance helps qualifying patients without prescription drug coverage get the medicines they need through the program that is right for them. Many will get their medications free or nearly free. Callers can visit their website or call 1-888-4PPA-NOW.
The Substance Abuse Prevention & Treatment Agency (SAPTA) in Nevada has a sliding scale fee for funded programs. Their 24 hour hotline can be reached at Call 1-775- 825-4357.