When the Nevada Highway Patrol pulled over a semi-trailer truck on US Highway 93 this month, they expected to hand out a ticket and move along. It was soon clear to officers, however, that there was something more going on. Further investigation revealed 125 pounds of cocaine and 144 pounds of meth tucked away in the sleeper berth of the truck, and the driver and passenger of the truck were quickly taken into custody, charged not only with drug trafficking but speeding as well.
In Ely, this was one of the biggest drug busts in 20 years, but it marks just a drop in the bucket on the national landscape. Every day, semi-trailers, cars, and trucks that are travelling the country’s highways to bring different substances to different parts of the country are intercepted, and many more make it to their destination.
Use of stimulant drugs like cocaine and crystal meth continues to take lives across the country, even as the problem of heroin addiction and overdose steadily rises. In Nevada especially, stimulant overdose rates are among the highest in the US. It is a problem that continues to plague the state, tearing families apart and ending lives far too early.
Is stimulant abuse and addiction a problem in your neighborhood?
Because cessation of use of stimulant drugs like crystal methq and cocaine does not cause the same kind of withdrawal symptoms experienced by those who stop taking opiate drugs like heroin or opiate painkillers, many assume that there is no such thing as stimulant addiction. That is not the case. In fact, stimulant drugs are exceedingly addictive, and the toll on those who use the drugs regularly is severe and rapid. Overdose can occur with a single use, just like with opiate drugs, and it can have an equally devastating effect on the person’s ability to function in daily life.
Though some may abuse the prescription versions of stimulant drugs like Adderall or Vyvanse to assist them with their ability to get better grades or do better at work, many abuse stimulants recreationally. Even if the use of stimulant drugs was at first utilitarian, in short order, it can develop into an addiction that causes their life to spiral out of control. No matter how it begins, just like with opiate addiction, it can be life-altering.
Is Your Loved One Struggling with Stimulant Abuse?
Even if your loved one has a legitimate prescription for a stimulant drug, it is possible to develop a substance use disorder. Everyone is different, but in general, you may note any of the following symptoms or issues in your loved one if they are struggling with stimulant abuse:
- Staying up all night or even for days at a time followed by a “crash” or recuperation period that can last days
- Increased chattiness, activity, irritability, and/or agitation
- Lying or stealing
- Losing a significant amount of weight
- Developing serious dental issues (e.g., “meth mouth”)
- Thinning hair, pockmarked skin, and dull nails and eyes
- Spending more time around people who often exhibit some of the above symptoms or issues
- Having an increasingly difficult time maintaining employment or being unable to gain employment
- Behaving erratically
- Exhibiting paranoia
Treatment for Stimulant Addiction Works
The best method for dealing with stimulant addiction in a loved one – whether they are using prescription stimulants or buying drugs off the street – is to offer the opportunity for treatment. Drug rehab programs have been proven effective in treating addiction to stimulants when they include:
- Medical care and detox, if needed
- Assessment of mental health
- Unique treatment plan to address stimulant abuse, mental health issues, and any associated medical need
- Immersion in a comprehensive schedule of therapies, including cognitive-behavioral therapies, family therapies, group therapies, and more
- Regular check-ins to ensure that treatment is going as planned and treatment goals are being met
- Relapse prevention assistance
- Life skills
- Long-term aftercare and support
It is not always a comfortable or simple process, but if your intervention can help your loved one to avoid overdose, other medical emergency, or accident due to drug use, it is well worth the time and effort. Are you ready to have the conversations that are necessary to help move your loved one closer to treatment?