Addiction doesn’t just affect the user

Drug-related arrests kept the Carson City Sheriff’s Office busy last weekend.

Two people were arrested on suspicion of possession of a controlled substance (methamphetamine) Friday, followed by two more Saturday. A third arrest on the same count came Sunday, the same day a 19-year-old Carson City woman was arrested at Smith Park for allegedly having heroin, marijuana, pills and drug paraphernalia.

In the latter case, a park visitor called law enforcement to report he’d seen the woman and a man “huffing” a substance. The arresting deputy said the man had a can of “duster,” which is used to clean computer keyboards, in his pocket and that he and the woman had been inhaling from it.

The most disturbing part is that numerous families and other park visitors could easily see the illegal activity, according to the woman’s arrest report. That’s one case in which apparent drug use was out in the open.

Generally, the seedy underworld of meth and heroin use is far less visible, residing in homes with drawn blinds, as well as hidden compartments in vehicles. Unless you’re in law enforcement or use drugs, you likely never see the stuff. But it’s out there; two more meth-related arrests Wednesday underscore that.

The worst element of drug abuse is that the user rarely is the only victim. As addiction sets in, users will go to ever-greater lengths to get a fix, including property crimes, robbery, theft and even assault.

Lisa Keating, a clinical psychologist who writes for the Nevada Appeal every few weeks, said children often suffer the most when a parent is addicted. In the worst situations, she said, the parents neglect to feed their children regularly, help them with hygiene and clean the house.

“Because of who the parents bring around the home, and because their parents’ inhibitions are lowered, these children are at high risk for physical and sexual abuse, in addition to neglect,” she said. “I am seeing a client right now whose parent had her basically raising her younger sibling, and prostituting her at age 12 years, while her mother laid on the couch using methamphetamines.”

Children in such situations develop much the way people growing up in children’s homes do, sometimes falling victim to attachment disorders, depression and brain disorders, and typically repeating the pattern with their own children.

“As adults, they tend to be caretakers in relationships and to have low self-esteem, so they often find an addict to marry and replicate the cycle, or, because they may become an addict themselves,” she said.

Arrests help get drugs out of our neighborhoods, while people such as Keating who perform social services help ease the trauma that addiction causes. Our hats are off to those who are part of the solution to an ever-growing problem.


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