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West Virginia Drug Addiction

West Virginia, as with many states in The United States, has a severe drug addiction problem. From 2011 to 2013, nearly 34 per 100,000 people in West Virginia died from drug overdoses according to the Trust for America’s Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. This is an increase from 22 per 100,000 in 2007 to 2009. West Virginia drug addiction is among the highest in the country according to the National Institute on Drug Use and Health. Treatment centers in the state are able to help the thousands of individuals who suffer from substance use disorder through their treatment programs.


What are street drugs?

Street drugs include all the substances that people abuse for their mood altering properties. These drugs are illegal according the Substance Abuse Act that schedules drugs into categories depending on their benefits and addictive properties. Most street drugs are categorized as Schedule I, which means that they do not serve any medical purpose and the chance for abuse and addiction is high. Some of the substances that cause West Virginia drug addiction include cocaine, crack (a form of cocaine), crystal meth, ecstasy, methamphetamine, heroin and cannabis.



Cocaine is known by many names including blow, coke and Charlie. It is extracted from coca plants found in mountainous regions. Users feel euphoria, hyperactively, a boost in self-confidence and increased energy. However, some users feel paranoia, headaches, tremors and anxiety with a single dose. With long-term use, cocaine can deplete neurotransmitters that control the reward sensation. This can lead to suicidal thoughts, fatigue, depression and apathy that can last for months. In some cases, the neuron damage is so great that even medication fails to fix it. Long-term use also causes a decrease in libido, cravings and issues with their nose such as nosebleeds and a constant runny nose.

Withdrawal symptoms from cocaine include depression, pain throughout the body, tremors, exhaustion, lack of pleasure, difficulty concentrating, chills and anxiety. The symptoms are rarely dangerous but they are often difficult to deal with. Cocaine is a Schedule II controlled substance meaning that it has some medical benefit but there is a high risk of abuse and addiction.



This powerful opiate is made from the opium poppy plant and it is highly addictive and dangerous. It can be smoked, injected and snorted. There are many street names for the drug including smack, brown, gear, H and junk. User of the substance claim that it makes them feel warm and euphoric as well as blocking pain and insecurities. In the short-term, users often feel nausea, chills and pains in their bones and muscles. It can also cause drowsiness, shallow breathing and a weak pulse in the short-term. Over long-term use, users experience severe affects such as liver damage, bacterial infections, arthritis, infections of the heart and poisoning from the additives. Heroin is a Schedule I drug as it serves no medical purpose and the risk of abuse and subsequent addiction is very high.

Due to the excess amounts of endorphins that the drug produces in the brain, their own natural production is lowered. It can become so imbalanced that a user will experience pain even when they have no injuries. These chemical changes also cause fluctuating moods and confusion in a long-term user.

Within two days, the withdrawal symptoms can set in. They include severe depression, anxiety, diarrhea, muscle cramps and pains, seizures, loss of appetite and vomiting. Heroin withdrawal often requires a medical detox to safely complete, utilizing medications such as methadone to bring the patient off the drug slowly rather than abruptly.


Crystal Meth

West Virginia drug addiction includes addictions to drugs such as crystal meth. The drug is known by many names including ice, crystal, rocks, glass and candy. The newer forms of crystal meth can be 100% pure that makes it very dangerous to the user. It is known to be more lethal than cocaine and crack. Lab tests on rats show that it is more addictive than most drugs on the market today as is shown in the movie The World’s Most Dangerous Drug (Meth).  It is usually smoked in pipes made from glass.

Users of crystal meth report feelings of intense exhilaration that comes on as a wave that is both mental and physical. The effects of a single use can last between 4 and 14 hours. Some users may feel depression, anxiety, fatigue and psychosis from a single use. The psychosis is much like paranoid schizophrenia and can affect short and long-term users of the drug. Users that abuse the drug over a long period run the risk of damaging their lungs, liver and kidneys. Meth mouth is also a condition that is common in addicts as a result of the dental damage the substance does. Sores on the skin occur as the user continues to scratch their skin until it tears. Infectious diseases are a concern as abusers of the drug make poor decisions. Other risky behavior can lead to illegal activities and possible incarceration.

Withdrawal symptoms from crystal meth include severe depression, fatigue, anxiety and psychosis. Excessive sleeping is common as well as paranoia, suicidal thoughts and unpleasant nightmares. The suicide risk is among the most concerning withdrawal symptom as the severe depression sets in.


West Virginia Drug Addiction Treatment options

Drug addiction should be dealt with at an accredited rehabilitation facility. These facilities are equipped to deal with severe withdrawal symptoms and can provide the best possible therapy and treatment to aid individuals with their substance abuse problems. Treatment can be performed in an inpatient or outpatient setting and alternative treatment methods can be included in a treatment plan that includes art, music and equine therapy.

No person should go through the struggles of an addiction alone when there are rehab centers and support groups to assist in the recovery process. If you or a loved one needs help for an addiction to drugs, pick up the phone and dial an addiction specialist today.