Substance Abuse and Treatment in North Las Vegas, Nevada
The City of Sin has never lost its penchant for vices and addiction. Aside from the numerous numbers of places and sites to visit, Las Vegas has been home to some of the most notorious gangs and syndicates in the country. On a national average, the crime rate in North Las Vegas is higher than any other community with a crime index rating of 16 (100 is the safest).
North Las Vegas has a median average of 9.61% whereas; the entire Nevada has 6.78%. This means that falling victim to a violent crime is likely to happen to 1 in every 31 of its residents. North Las Vegas has also been listed as one of the most dangerous cities to live in the USA.
With so many tourists and every possible event happening in the area, North Las Vegas has also become a haven for drug dealers and users. Unemployment is also rampant in the city resulting in violent crimes. In fact, on a national average, the state of Nevada was seen to have a crime rate 120% higher.
The prevalence of drug and alcohol addiction is one particular problem of the city. Because Nevada lies close to the Tijuana region, drugs can be easily smuggled through couriers and non-documented immigrants, making addiction a top concern for public officials.
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The Prevalence of Drug and Alcohol Addiction in North Las Vegas
With a population of more than 226,000 people, North Las Vegas is home to the Ellis Air Force Base and North Las Vegas airport, one of the busiest airports in Nevada. Although the city is rich in culture and attractions, most of the residents belong to the poverty line with 16.6% of its population living below poverty level.
Drug addiction is one of the biggest problems the city faces over the years. Drug overdose occurs in every 21.6 resident out of 100,000 and heroin has been the leading cause of this fatality. The ethnical diversity of the city has been seen to be a double-sided sword in some ways.
In a way that it brings cultural diversity, this has also lead to the proliferation of drugs coming in from all sides of the planet. Drugs being smuggled from the Mexican border and those coming in from the Asian countries has always found a way into the city.
The prevalence of drugs and alcohol addiction in the city has been growing through the years. It has been considered as an epidemic and some people have been reported to have multiple addictions resulting in the growing number of fatalities.
Even young children are not immune to the problem as some residents under the age of 15 starts using drugs and alcohol. About 12.5% of the total population with the age bracket of 12-17 have used or tried using illegal substances in their young lives. Nearly 19% of the people between the ages of 18-25 have used drugs and alcohol before.
Although several theories have been given as a reason to explain why people abuse these substances, addiction has varying degrees. Predisposition, personal choice, peer pressure, and psychological issues all account for the reason why a person suffers from use and abuse of illicit substances.
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North Las Vegas Economy and How it Relates to the Growing Number of Addiction and Crime
In a city with 49 sections of neighborhood, North Las Vegas is the 4th largest neighborhood in Las Vegas. And because the city is located within the central Casino strip, the neighborhood has had a growing number of residents coming in.
Coming from diverse cultural heritage including social and financial standings, its residents come from different backgrounds. Employment also comes from a diverse sector of services including professional and blue-collar jobs. Although there is an abundant source of employment, all of these are considered to be low to median salary grade. A typical family has an average household income of about $52,500.
The mixture of cultural diversity, lack of concrete programs, and lower to middle-income salary grades contribute to the widespread drug problem. Although drug addiction can have deeper roots within a person, the lack of opportunities in the community contributes to use and abuse or even trafficking.
Several reported incidents of drug trafficking were associated with money laundering and not just for the pleasure of having a steady supply. Such cases where young and old professionals involve themselves with drug dealing are one defining scenario. It indicates how grave the drug problem in the area is.
The mixture of wealthy and poor in North Las Vegas also contributes to the proliferation of drug trafficking and hurdling of drugs. A supplier can easily penetrate a syndicate provided he has inside contacts and several runners working for him. Being located near the Mexican border also makes North Las Vegas highly valuable for drug dealers and carriers.
On a national average, crime rates in North Las Vegas are higher. This is partly caused by the proliferation of drug use within the area and the lawlessness it brings. On an average, there are 32 crimes committed per one thousand of its residents. The chance of being victimized by a violent crime is also higher as compared to other cities in the country.
Top Drugs Abused in the North Las Vegas Area
Several types of drugs have seen circulating in the local drug arena. Most of the newer drugs being created have also found its way to North Las Vegas. These drugs often have severe side effects that can cause so much atrocity to a person’s mind and body. This often results in an irreparable trauma leading to death.
Some of the most extensively used drugs in North Las Vegas include:
- Crack cocaine
- Acid and prescription drugs
Methamphetamine is rampantly used all across Las Vegas and has been the top drug used in the northern part. Though medical grade marijuana has been legalized in 2000, it still is being widely and illegally used throughout the city.
Heroin and crack cocaine, though has severe physiological and psychological effects when taken in large quantities, several cases of people dying has been recorded because of overdose. The city government has been astringent as many other cities when it comes to taking hold of drug addiction within its boundaries.
Though some of the policies may appear to be vague and the administration may seem lax, the truth of the matter is, a great portion of the addiction cases has been attributed to the close proximity with the Mexican border where drugs are smuggled.
North Las Vegas’ Stance on Alcohol and Drug Addiction
On a national median, the state of Nevada has 6.78% crime rate. This is surpassed by the average crime being done in North Las Vegas in a year. Given that the population continues to grow, crime rate also increases with the proliferation of drug use.
The increasing rate has reached to over 9.61%, a rate higher most parts of Nevada. Violent crimes, in particular, are higher in North Las Vegas than any parts of the US with the same size and population. This includes aggravated assault, rape, murder, non-negligent manslaughter, and armed robbery.
Drug addiction is considered as one of the leading factors for the increasing number of violent crimes. North Las Vegas also possesses the highest number of murder rates as compared to other cities and communities throughout the country.
Although the city government has been strict on their drug laws, close proximity to the Mexican border has always posed a serious threat to the safety of its population. This is simply because most of the drug cartel coming into the country finds its way to the city before being distributed to other states.
The highest quantity of Methamphetamine, for example, is being manufactured in Mexico and some “super labs” bordering California. It finds its way to North Las Vegas through organizations operating between the two places.
Because of the rampant drug smuggling, the city government has strictly enforced the state-wide laws about distribution and possession of illegal substances. Being caught by authorities with drugs can affect your chances of getting a job or finding a house.
The Legalization of Medical Marijuana
This has been a daring move on the state of Nevada causing a shift in the thinking of some people. With the newly instated law, people who are caught in possession of medical-grade marijuana will not serve jail time and cannot be charged with felony crimes.
Under the new law, which was instated early 2017; possession of the controlled substance does not have to go beyond 1 ounce. It has to be acquired from a legal dispensary and consumed within the private property. Medical marijuana users are also required to show a valid government ID and only adults beyond the age of 21 can get hold of the substance.
Penalties for Possession of Controlled Substances
Depending on the substance caught and how much was in possession, the penalty for the felony charge also varies. Regulated by the Controlled Substances Act, the city of North Las Vegas strictly follows its guidelines.
Known to authorities and lawyers as Drug Schedules, each of the drugs known in North Las Vegas and in the state has its own penalties. Depending on how much has been caught, jail sentence and other repercussions can have a maximum of 4 years and a fine of up to $20,000.
Category E Felony normally includes a jail sentence for a maximum of one year and a penalty of $5,000. Category D penalty has severe consequences including the maximum jail time and fines. Being caught with “Club Drugs” will give you a maximum jail sentence of up to 6 years in prison.
Possession of qualified amounts of marijuana has been exempted by law. It has now been considered as a medically sound drug provided that possession does not go over 1 ounce. Otherwise, an exorbitant amount of marijuana is still considered as a crime all over Nevada.
Penalties for Drug Trafficking in North Las Vegas
Possession with the intent to sell drugs is highly punishable in North Las Vegas. The State Law, NRS 453.3395 states that an arrested individual with the intention to sell, manufacture, deliver or transport any of the known addictive drugs is highly accountable by law.
Penalties are also dependent on the seized drugs, its amount, and other regulatory mandates violated. Just like drug possession, trafficking also has its own Schedules. High-grade substances with the potential to be abused are listed under Schedule 1 and medically used drugs with the least probability of abuse are under Schedule V. Offenders are required to serve the mandatory minimum sentence before they are able to apply for a parole grant.
Rigid implementation of these laws is greatly enforced within the city as drug trafficking has been one of the biggest problems the city faces. A person charged with drug trafficking can fall under Category A, B, or C. Each of these violations has their own penalties with Category A as the most unrelenting. A maximum jail sentence can reach up to 25 years to life and reparation can reach a total of $500,000.
High Profile cases of Alcohol and Drug Addiction in North Las Vegas
With the drug and alcohol problem in North Las Vegas, several cases are worthy to mention. These prolific cases have brought addiction to the minds of the common and made them aware of the consequences of being involved in such.
Among these cases involve a veteran doctor, a woman who killed her roommates, a man sentenced for playing a role in the dissemination of more than 7,000 ecstasy pills and meth, and a local resident sentenced for multistate drug trafficking. These are just but some of the cases filed every year in North Las Vegas. Hundreds of buy-busts and surveillance operations are being done by the local police to prevent the absurd proliferation of illegal substances.
- The Henri Wetselaar Drug Case. Henri Wetselaar has been a practicing doctor for almost his entire life. But his questionable practice has been brought to light with a sentence that brought him behind bars. The supposed practitioner was in the guise of his career, a supplier of powerful opioids in the local market. The 93-year old doctor was sentenced to 20-years in prison for 11 counts of money laundering and illegal drug distribution cases. Read story here.
- The Christine Rose Sanchez Homicide Case. This high profile case caused a stir in North Las Vegas when the 47-year old supposed perpetrator was arrested for killing three of her roommates. Sanchez was previously involved in a similar case in North Las Vegas where she was indicted for the death of a 52-year old woman. Read story here.
- Ecstasy and Meth Distribution Resulting in Conspiracy Charges. A man from North Las Vegas was sentenced to 9 years in prison for his participation in the distribution of ecstasy pills and meth. Jordan Raeshaun Cambridge pleaded guilty to the charges of conspiracy to sell MDMA and meth. Read the storyhere.
- Woman Pleads Guilty to Interstate Drug Trafficking. A middle-aged woman from the city pleaded guilty to drug trafficking by admitting her participation in the money laundering activity. During her inquest, she confirmed that the syndicate was operated by her mother who works as a gastroenterologist in Idaho. Sherlann Simon, her parent Loren and Stanley Toelle, along with 11 other people were charged with felony cases.
Youth Addiction in North Las Vegas
The “City of Sin” has had a long and complicated relationship with addiction. Because it affects most of the population, teenage addiction has also become one of the main issues in North Las Vegas.
The prevalence of youth addiction in the area has increased in the last couple of years primarily because of early exposure to drugs and alcohol. In the recent years, the proliferation of teenage addiction has doubled with cases involving heroin addiction and other severe drugs. Age brackets have also become alarmingly lower involving young kids at the age of 12.
The frightening rate of teenage addiction has steadily grown over time with residents aged 18-20 constituting to over 21.5% of the cases. On a national level which stands to only 5.7%, this statistics can be very distressing. The continuous rise of young children in need of drug and alcohol rehabilitation has long since been a standing problem. Drugs like amphetamine, heroin, and marijuana all account for the drug problem being experienced by the young population of North Las Vegas.
The Need for Concrete and Viable Government Intervention
Like any other cities, North Las Vegas and the rest of the state has faced addiction head-on. But the lack of concrete and innovative programs to curtail drug trafficking and addiction in the area is one of the main reasons for its proliferation.
An easy access to the substance is also a gigantic task for the city council, not only because of the long relationship of the area with illicit substances but because of the way it has been handled in the last century.
A lot of the current cases we have were passed from one generation to the other which becomes an intrinsic part of a growing child. Addiction is quite rampant in the area with kids seeing their parents take drugs from their medicine cabinets. Not just with the highly prolific dangerous drugs, but painkillers, over-the-counter drugs, and several other self-medication pills can be easily abused.
The lack of substance abuse facilities also poses as one of the biggest threat to its native dwellers. Only a significant number of rehab centers can be seen in North Las Vegas and in the rest of the state. This in many ways contributes to the highest mortality rates as the problem is not properly addressed. Early intervention is also one big factor why a lot of teen addicts grow up with the same addiction.
Several out-of-state treatment alternatives have been proposed including connection with rehabs in nearby states. Florida, for instance, has been one of the states where addicts come for help. If the city government want to make better of its citizens, then a concrete course of plan has to be developed before it envelopes the whole community of Las Vegas.
Common Treatment Protocols Followed by North Las Vegas Rehabs
There are only a few number of treatment rehabs in North Las Vegas, all of which follows strict compliance with the common treatment protocol. This enables a drug and alcohol addict to get the best out of their rehabilitation to prevent the occurrence of a relapse after. Here’s what to expect during your drug and alcohol treatment:
The primary goal of the assessment phase is for your attending physicians and counselors to have a full diagnosis of your condition. This involves several stages and all of which needs to be completed truthfully. Probably one of the longest phases of the treatment protocol, you would need to undergo a series of medical examinations and psychological testing. This enables your counselors to develop a strategy on how to approach your addiction effectively.
The pre-intake process is an easy way of letting you get a glimpse of what to expect during your treatment. The facility will get you acquainted with everyone involved with your treatment program and allow you to take a closer look at the facility itself. Being able to fully acquaint yourself with the rehab center will ease your nervousness and make you feel more at-home.
This might be a scary part as you are not fully aware of what to expect regarding your recovery. But being well aware of the reason why you are seeking help and keeping that goal in mind will help lighten up your burdens and make you feel more comfortable. Always remember to make friends and participate in any activities regardless if it involves a group or one-on-one sessions with your counselors.
Considered as the most dangerous phase of your recovery, the detox process gets rid of the harmful buildup of waste in your body. As your body adjusts to the lack of the addictive substance, you would experience several withdrawal symptoms. This includes behavioral and psychological changes brought about by the lack of the substance in your body. Usually accompanied by a medically supervised prescription, overcoming this stage can be the most rewarding one.
Alternative Treatment Options
There are several other activities involved with drug treatment aside from the conventional group and one-on-one counseling. In most cases, a drug facility offers some other forms of activities to take your mind off the addictive substance. Alternative treatment options including yoga, meditation, equine therapy, hiking, and some other recreational activities will help you focus on your healing and lead you through a path of self-discovery.
An aftercare program is sometimes the only buffer omitted from an effective drug and alcohol rehabilitation. In most cases, when this is taken for granted, a recovering addict reverts back to his old habits. When that happens, a relapse is bound to happen. An aftercare program helps you solidify the lessons and everything you’ve learned during the treatment course. It also allows you to develop a strong bond particularly with those whose stage of recovery coincides with yours.
This is the ultimate reward for being deeply motivated by your treatment. A sober living might be a life-long journey but is not an altogether impossible goal. Keep your head high because you have made a difference in your life.
To find the perfect rehab center in North Las Vegas that fits your demands, simply click here.