Meth Abuse in Nevada is Skyrocketing - 8 News NOW

Edward Lawrence, Reporter

Meth Abuse in Nevada is Skyrocketing

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(Scroll down for local treatment centers for drug use)

Nevada ranks high among states where methamphetamine abuse is skyrocketing. State authorities are trying to learn as much as they can to combat the surge and they're meeting in Washington, D.C. this week to hear from national experts. Meanwhile, the problem just keeps getting worse.

In Las Vegas, the Drug Enforcement Agency raided 50 methamphetamine labs in 2005. Agents estimate that many or more operate in Las Vegas each day. Each one creates addictive poison growing in popularity.

"I used cocaine. I used meth. I tried heroin. Run the gambit from marijuana to acid." Recovering drug addict Vicki Sparks says of all of the drugs she has used -- methamphetamine was the most addictive. The high lasts 12 to 24 hours and so do the cravings for more.

Sparks said, "Throughout my drug use I lost my daughter. The state took her away from me and gave her to my mother." She has stomach problems and had a stroke because of drugs.

Assistant Special Agent Paul Masto, with the U.S. Secret Service, said, "Methamphenine is a highly addictive drug. These people are tweaking for days on end when they are high."

Masto says his agency gets involved in busting meth labs because the criminals who make it usually diversify. Secret Service agents usually also find identity theft. "Direct correlation and if you look at it, meth got its start in Arizona and came over here, other to California. It took the same path as identity theft."

Las Vegas ranks seventh in the nation in the amount of people arrested while on methamphenines. Sparks says that rank may change, but not for the better. "Are we winning this battle? No. Not as long as you can walk into the drug store and buy the ephedrine off the counter."

Sparks did beat the odds. After 20 years of drug use she has been clean for 18 and a half years. She now has a good relationship with her daughter and works as a drug counselor for WestCare. She is proof addicts can turn their lives around.

There are places for you to turn if you would like help with drug use:

  • The Las Vegas Recovery Center can help. Their number is 515-1374.
  • WestCare Triage Center can also help. Their number is at 385-3330.  

Email reporter Edward Lawrence at elawrence@klastv.com

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