Commonly Abused Drugs in Arizona

drugs in arizona

Arizona has been considered a “gateway” state for drugs into the United States, as drugs were often smuggled in over the border. After an alarming increase in opioid deaths in Arizona in 2016, Governor Doug Ducey declared the opioid epidemic in the state a public health emergency in 2017. This spurred action to prevent opioid addiction and reduce opioid deaths in Arizona that improved the situation in the state and in 2018 Governor Ducey ended the public health emergency and Arizona continues the fight against the opioid overdose epidemic. 


Commonly Abused Drugs in Arizona

Though opioids are a commonly abused drug in Arizona that has received a substantial amount of public attention, several other illicit drugs are also notably abused. At Soba Mesa, we want to inform our readers about the dangers of these commonly abused drugs. 



Methamphetamine, or meth, is readily available and is actually the most commonly abused in Arizona. Meth is a highly addictive drug that affects the central nervous system. Meth acts as a stimulant and causes a powerful rush and makes people feel awake and energetic. It is highly addictive because people build a tolerance to it and need to increase doses to feel the same high, and a higher dose comes with inherently higher risks. The process of making meth in labs is quite dangerous because the chemicals used are toxic and can cause explosions. Meth is made from pseudoephedrine, an ingredient found in decongestants like Sudafed. Meth in Arizona comes from in-state labs, but also labs out of state in California and Nevada, though most is smuggled in from Mexico. Meth addiction is a difficult substance addiction to treat, but it is possible with the help of professional drug treatment programs. 



Cocaine is another prominent drug in Arizona in both the form of powdered and crack cocaine. Cocaine is made from the leaves of the coca plant, native to South America, which is why a lot of the illicit drug is smuggled into Arizona from Mexico. Like meth, cocaine is a stimulant that is addictive as users become less sensitive to the effects of the drug and take increasingly large doses to obtain the same high. The high of cocaine happens almost instantaneously but tends not to be long lasting. Powdered cocaine is often snorted, rubbed into the gums, or injected, while crack cocaine is smoked. Dealers often mix cocaine with mundane substances like flour to increase profits, but sometimes cocaine is also mixed with amphetamines or synthetic opioids. These dangerous additives are especially insidious if the user is unaware of them. Though cocaine is addictive there are several methods of behavioral therapy that are effectively used to treat cocaine addiction.


Heroin and Other Opioids

Opioids including heroin are commonly abused drugs in Arizona, and the epidemic of opioid overdoses in recent years have drawn much attention to their prolific and dangerous presence in the state. Opioids are pain relievers but can be used to cause a powerful high. The majority of drug overdose deaths in the United States are caused by opioids. Several types of heroin predominant in the state originate from Mexico like black tar heroin. Heroin is an illegal semi-synthetic opioid made from morphine. However, opioid abuse can also originate from legal opioids used as prescription pain relievers. Legal opioids are safe when prescribed by a doctor and taken for a short time properly, but misuse or regular use even if they are prescribed by a doctor can lead to addiction. Though heroin use and prescription opioid deaths have actually begun to stabilize and even decrease slightly in the past several years, opioid overdose deaths caused by synthetic opioids like fentanyl have been on the rise since 2016. Arizona’s efforts to curb opioid abuse and overdose death have been primarily aimed at regulating prescriptions filled by the state, but opioids remain a large problem. Whether a person suffering from addiction uses a drug that is legalized or not, there is help out there in the form of professional treatment. 


Tips on How to Get Help With Addiction

If you or a loved one is looking for help with their addiction there are several things you can do:

  • Educate yourself—The SAMHSA National Helpline is a free, confidential treatment referral and information services for those struggling or know someone struggling with substance abuse disorders.
  • Look for Support Groups—The first support groups that often come to mind for substance abuse are Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous, but there are many alternative support groups like SMART Recovery, LifeRing or SOS
  • Seek Professional Treatment—Professional treatment for substance abuse works to break the cycle of addiction through medical detoxification, inpatient treatment, and aftercare in order to achieve long term recovery.


Finding Drug Centers in Arizona

Arizona has been putting in a substantial amount of work against drug abuse and there are many professional treatment centers in the state that offer a full-continuum of care. If you’re in Arizona struggling with any of the state’s commonly abused drugs, it may be difficult to break the cycle of addiction remaining in the same place. But you don’t need to travel out of state to seek great professional treatment. At Soba Mesa, we believe in compassionate, individualized care that focuses on the whole person. We are located east of Phoenix in Mesa, offering everything from the beginning phase of detox to aftercare to dedicate an extended amount of time and effort into treating addiction in order to prompt lasting recovery. If you want to learn more about how we can help you here in Arizona, please contact us today! 

How to Get My Friend Help With Addiction

help a friend with addiction

Watching a friend struggle with addiction can make you feel powerless, but you can help your friend along the road to recovery. By knowing the signs of addiction and treatment options, you can recognize whether your friend needs help and find them the help they need. At Soba Mesa, we know broaching the topic of addiction may feel as though you’re overstepping your bounds, but if someone you care about is suffering from addiction, starting a conversation about their addiction is an important step toward life-saving help.

Signs of Addiction

If you suspect a friend might have an addiction, you might notice changes in their physical appearance, such as:

  • Unkempt appearance
  • Decreasing personal hygiene
  • Weight loss
  • Pale skin

Addiction also affects people mentally and emotionally. Commons signs of addiction as a result of this mental and emotional toll include:

  • Defensiveness when asked about changes in behavior or substance use
  • Depression
  • Mood swings or irritability
  • Becoming argumentative
  • Noticeable lack of energy
  • Failure to fulfil obligations at work, home, or school
  • Self-isolating and secretive
  • Risky or erratic behavior

If you notice a friend constantly displaying any of these warning signs or symptoms of addiction, they may need treatment.


Addiction Treatment Options

The purpose of addiction treatment is to help individuals struggling with addiction to stop compulsive use of drugs or alcohol. Because addiction is chronic, treatment is often a long-term process. Soba Mesa offers holistic drug and alcohol treatment in Mesa, Arizona from detoxification to continuing care. 



Detoxification is the medical treatment of freeing the blood from toxins. At Soba Mesa, detoxification is medically supervised by certified doctors, registered nurses, behavioral health technicians and drug & alcohol counselors. Our inpatient facility has 20 beds, allowing for 24-hour monitoring of the process and individualized care. Detoxification is the first step on the road to recovery and usually takes three to seven days. 


Inpatient Treatment

Inpatient treatment—sometimes known as residential treatment—is a treatment for addiction in which individuals struggling with addiction stay in a controlled environment. At Soba Mesa, inpatient treatment is tailored to individual needs and all those participating in inpatient treatment are at similar points in their journeys to sobriety. Inpatient treatment allows patients a critical point between detoxification in sober living in which to transition and gain more confidence on their road to recovery.


Outpatient Treatment and Sober Living

In outpatient treatment, a patient goes to treatment during the day, but lives at home. Outpatient treatment can be stand alone, or part of a long-term treatment program. At Soba Mesa, outpatient treatment is one step in a longer treatment process to continue to provide support to those on their way to recovery. Outpatient treatment can also include sober living homes, which are spaces specifically for individuals working on their addiction recovery. Sober living homes are free from drugs and alcohol and offer a community for motivation and support as well as assistance to rebuild skills lost or muted during addiction. Soba Mesa offers sober living in conjunction with outpatient treatment to create a supportive, community-oriented environment for recovery. 


How to Approach My Friend About Their Addiction

Approaching a friend about addiction can be uncomfortable, but early intervention is important for recovery. Remember, a common sign of addiction is denial, so it is important to be gentle rather than accusatory. Make sure the conversation doesn’t take place while your friend is under the influence, as they may react more negatively than they would otherwise. 


To start a conversation about a friend’s addiction, begin with your observations that you’re concerned about. This might look like:

  • “I wanted to check in on you because I’ve noticed you’ve been acting different lately”
  • “I’ve been worried about you because I’ve noticed you haven’t seemed like yourself lately”


After starting the conversation, you might ask questions about how they’re feeling, if they are dependent on a substance, how you can support them, or if they’ve thought about getting help. When providing support it’s important to listen to your friend to allow them to tell you about what is going on in their lives. If you know a friend is struggling with addiction, your presence as a friend can be invaluable to their recovery.


Get Help With Addiction at Soba Mesa

Please don’t hesitate to contact us today at Soba Mesa regarding a loved one’s addiction or your own. Soba Mesa is a part of Soba Recovery, and our sister location is in Texas. We offer a full range of addiction treatment options, from detoxification to aftercare. We know addiction is a lifelong journey, and we’re dedicated to to helping anyone and everyone pursue it!