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Substance Abuse and Addiction in Nevada

Like anywhere else in the United States and beyond, substance abuse is a problem in Nevada. With about 3.2 million residents, Nevada is the 33rd most populous state. However, its statistics for all kinds of drug abuse and substance use disorders (SUDs) exceed national averages. On a brighter note, increasing numbers of people in Nevada are seeking treatment for addiction. There are many options for drug rehab so that you or someone you love can receive treatment and start recovery.

Here are some statistics on Nevada drug use and SUDs from the 2019 National Survey on Drug Use and Health and the National Survey of Substance Abuse Treatment Services, both sponsored by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

• Among Nevada teens aged 12 to 17, 8.1% used marijuana as compared with the national average of 6.8%.
• For the same age group, 9.9% used illicit drugs, well beyond the national average of 8.2%.
• About 45.2% of 18-to-25-year-olds living in Nevada use marijuana, as compared to 35% of young adults across the country.
• An estimated 8.6% of Nevadans in the same age group had a marijuana use disorder, greatly exceeding the national average of 5.6%.
• Young adults in Nevada experienced opioid addiction at a rate more than double the national average: 2.5% in the state versus 1.0% throughout the country.
• Other illicit drug addiction is also rampant among young adults in the 18-to-25 age group in Nevada, reportedly at 12.6% in comparison to the national average of 7.5%
• With regard to all types of drugs and alcohol, 19.7% of Nevada’s young adults have SUDs, compared with the national average of 14.5%.
• In Nevada, 9.5% of those age 12 and up experience addiction, compared to the national average of 7.4%.
• Among those 12 years or older, 22.9% use marijuana, and 2.2% have a marijuana use disorder, exceeding the national averages of 16.2% and 1.6%, respectively.
• Heroin use also affects more adults in Nevada than Americans as a whole, at 3.5% compared to the U.S. average of 3.0%.
• About 1.2% of adults in Nevada suffer a prescription painkiller addiction, beyond the national average of 0.7%.
• Approximately 4.8% of the state’s adults have illicit drug use disorders and need treatment, compared to 2.9% nationwide.
• Around 319 more people sought treatment on an average day in 2019 as compared to 2015, improving the average from 6,930 to 7,249 per day.
• About 82% of Nevada residents seeking addiction treatment have a drug use disorder with or without co-occurring alcohol dependence, with the remaining 18% experiencing alcohol use disorders exclusively.

The First Steps for Drug Rehab in Nevada

Your first steps in drug rehab are detox and withdrawal. Everyone seeking recovery from drugs after addiction sets in must go through the withdrawal process. The amount of time needed to cleanse the body depends on the half-life of the abused substance. The detox programs at most facilities last three, five, or seven days.

Detox is never easy and often comes with a long list of negative symptoms. For some individuals with co-occurring health problems or those addicted to certain substances, withdrawal can be dangerous. But in a licensed detox facility, you will be safe, secure, and cared for by licensed professionals and other support staff 24 hours per day and seven days per week.

In a detox center, you receive well-balanced meals, ongoing hydration, counseling, and the comforts of home to keep you on the right path. You also receive helpful medications to make withdrawal easier. You have people supporting you each step of the way to early sobriety, too. For many clients, that moral support, encouragement, and consideration make the difference between completing detox and falling into relapse. Being in a secure facility keeps you safe from access to drugs and constant temptations that can too easily derail your transition into recovery.

Common drug withdrawal symptoms include:

• Tremors and shaking
• Aches and pains
• Sleeplessness, nightmares, fatigue, and night sweats
• Extreme hunger or loss of appetite
• Depression, paranoia, anxiety, or irritability
• Sweating or chills
• Nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramping, and diarrhea
• Hallucinations, delusions, or feelings of bugs crawling on the skin
• Breathing problems or increased heart rate
• Seizures

Many people believe they can beat addiction on their own at home. But trying to get through withdrawal alone or by relying on loved ones is exhausting for everyone involved. Family members can easily feel overwhelmed by their loved one’s withdrawal symptoms. Trying to keep up with nutrition and other needs for support can be a round-the-clock job.

The dangers associated with withdrawal may necessitate an immediate medical response, something most family members are not equipped to provide. Beyond all these complexities, the risk of relapse looms large during withdrawal. For this reason, secure facilities prove safest by far.

Drug Rehab Programs in Nevada

Nevada provides a multitude of detox, rehab, and aftercare programs for anyone seeking recovery from drug addiction. You can find rehab options in Las Vegas, Elko, Reno, Lake Tahoe, Henderson, Ely, and elsewhere.

The types of drug rehab programs available to residents and visitors in Nevada represent the full spectrum of care. Through these programs, you can fulfill your individual needs or those of your loved ones. According to SAMHSA, available programs include:


A detox program is the first step in rehab. These programs provide safety, security, and 24/7 support while clients go through withdrawal. SAMHSA reports that there are 26 detox programs in Nevada. They are located in Las Vegas, Elko, Reno, Henderson, Lake Tahoe, and Fallon. Some of these facilities provide detox support services exclusively. Others offer entry into associated rehab treatment programs within the same facility or nearby.

Inpatient Short-Term Rehab

If you or your loved one have a lengthy addiction history or co-occurring conditions, the best path to recovery often starts through a hospital inpatient program. Inpatient rehab generally takes place in a hospital or other medical setting where you can receive comprehensive care for medical or behavioral conditions while starting recovery. These programs typically last up to 30 days, often with a recommendation for a step-down treatment in another program. Nevada has four of these programs in Las Vegas and Henderson.

Residential Long-Term Treatment

Residential long-term drug rehab is the most highly recommended type of treatment program. Nevada has 22 of these programs throughout the state, primarily in Reno, Lake Tahoe, Las Vegas, Henderson, Fallon, and Elko. For this treatment, clients live at the facility or in rehab-managed apartments nearby. You typically live with your rehab peers while participating in daytime therapy and educational sessions at the facility. Most clients need at least 90 days in treatment to quit drugs for good.

Intensive Outpatient Programs (IOPs)

Intensive outpatient programs, also known as intensive outpatient therapy, offer all the daytime counseling and treatment methods of residential rehab, but you continue living at home. These programs are best for those suffering from short-term addiction or having a good support system at home. These programs work well for clients needing to continue caring for family at home or with other ongoing responsibilities like work or school. In Nevada, 41 IOP programs are listed.

Outpatient (OP) Rehab Programs

Outpatient rehab treatment is a recovery starting point after detox for some clients with short-term addiction. It is also a step-down form of treatment, after inpatient or residential rehab, for others. Outpatient rehab, like IOP, involves living at home while attending daytime therapy and other sessions at the facility. These programs work well for clients with good support systems at home. They also suit the needs of those who must fulfill work, schooling, or family responsibilities while seeking treatment. In Nevada, there are about 62 of these programs.

Sober Living, Transitional Living, and Halfway Houses

Another option, after rehab treatment ends or as a stand-alone program toward recovery, is a sober living home. These are sometimes also called transitional living or halfway houses.

The common thread in these living facilities is that they promote ongoing sobriety as a rule while clients adjust to living everyday life in recovery. Clients live among peers in a house or apartment, sharing expenses and responsibilities. Each household member must acquire and keep a job.

Group therapy, individual counseling, educational sessions, or 12-step programs are often required among those living in these facilities. Overall, these arrangements offer comfort, accountability, and the companionship of peers working toward the same life goals. In Nevada, there are at least 17 of these homes.

Aftercare Programs

As clients prepare to leave drug rehab treatment and start their new lives, they need ongoing resources in their home communities. This is why rehabs typically provide information about local 12-step programs, group therapy providers, individual therapy providers, and other aftercare options for each client. Every individual seeking support in their home community has this form of aftercare available to them. Thanks to in-person and virtual meeting capabilities, no one needs to navigate the challenges of recovery without this support.

Recovery Through Individualized Treatment in Drug Rehab

Individualized treatment planning is a critical aspect of anyone’s journey from drug addiction to lasting recovery. Thankfully, Nevada offers an endless bounty of options for you or your loved one’s treatment. No two pathways from addiction to sobriety are exactly alike. You also have the freedom to choose programs and facilities that motivate you to walk away from drugs forever. You only have to take the first steps toward treatment to feel relief and hope for your future.

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Reviewed By:

Dr. John Elgin Wilkaitis

Dr. John Elgin Wilkaitis completed medical school at The University of Mississippi Medical Center and residency in general psychiatry in 2003. He completed a fellowship in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital in 2005. Following this, he served as Chief Medical Officer for 10 years of Brentwood Behavioral Healthcare a private health system including a 105-bed hospital, residential treatment, and intensive outpatient services.

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