Bakersfield is a city in California with significant recognition for its agriculture and oil production. The population of Bakersfield in 2016 was an estimated 376,380, significantly less than surrounding cities like Sacramento with a population of 495,234 and Fresno with 522,053. Population demographics determined that 197,349 total residents of Bakersfield are White, and 158,205 residents identifying as Hispanic and Latino. The median age of residents is 30, with the median annual household income totalling $56,842.
The unemployment rate of Bakersfield is high at 9.6% in comparison to the average unemployment rate of the United States, which is 5.2% according to Sperling’s Best Places. The most popular occupations are healthcare and social assistance, retail trade, and educational services.
Violent crime rates are also higher in Bakersfield than the United States average. On a scale of 1 to 100, the violent crime rating is 49 and the US average is 31.1. Property crime is also significantly high at a rating of 57, in comparison to the US average of 38.1.
According to All Treatment, 1,917 people were admitted into a rehabilitation clinic in Bakersfield, 2012. Methamphetamine treatment accounted for 49.9% of all admissions, with marijuana coming in second accounting for 19.3%, then alcohol accounting for 12.1%. 98% of child neglect in Bakersfield is related to poverty and drug addiction from teenage mothers.
The Memorial Hospital Bakersfield released a community health needs assessment in 2016 detailing 40.9% of Bakersfield adults engaging in binge drinking and 11.9% of children engaging in binge drinking, both statistics higher than the state rate which is 32.6% and 3.6% respectively.
Methamphetamine seems to be the main concern for Bakersfield residents. The Cycles of Change even goes so far to call it a meth epidemic. In 2014, over 50% of felonies in Kern County were meth-related. During the same year, the area saw a 37.2% increase in meth-related juvenile probations. Areas surrounding Bakersfield are also deeply affected by the meth epidemic.
Long-term of methamphetamine can often be recognized through their skeletal features, agitated or aggressive behavior, skin problems, and dental issues, which are all side-effects of the long-term usage of methamphetamine. Methamphetamine is a stimulant that speeds up the processes in your brain and body – this includes the aging process. Users may experience increased focus and intense euphoria, symptoms which are a result of the high levels of dopamine released when ingesting meth.
As with other drugs, regular use of methamphetamine can build the user’s tolerance, so they must increase their dosage to get the same high they previously experienced. Although meth addicts are portrayed as the lower level people of society, it does not only affect them. A growing number of the working-class are using meth as an energy booster to get through their workdays.
Dixie Kern of the Stop Meth Now taskforce states that children need to be kept away from alcohol which is the biggest gateway to methamphetamine use, and businesses need to begin combatting meth-use in the workplace and work on helping their employees escape their addiction. Kern also states that law enforcement needs to work harder at combatting the importation of drugs into Bakersfield, which has become a major hub for drug smuggling operations.
Not only has methamphetamine been identified as a problem for Bakersfield, but the city is also facing an opioid epidemic. The Washington Post states that although the deaths rates for Blacks and Hispanics are decreasing, Whites are prematurely dying at an alarming rate, especially the women. The main contributing factor for this is the increase in opioid overdose. Between 1999 and 2014, the percentage of middle-aged deaths in women increased by a shocking 400%.
Opioids produce morphine-like effects and work to reduce pain and generate euphoria. Medically, they are used as pain relief and cold medication. As with other drugs, prolonged use of opioids will result in tolerance and dependence. If abruptly stopped, the user may experience withdrawal uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms. Because of its euphoric effects, prescription opioids are often used recreationally on a frequent basis. In 2011, an estimated 4 million Americans either used opioids recreationally or were dependent on them. As of 2015, this number increased due to over-prescription of opioid-based medications and cheap, easily available heroin.
Tolerance and Dependence (Addiction)
Frequent use of any drug will result in tolerance. It’s a physiological process where the user’s body adjusts itself to a substance that’s frequently present. The user will then need to take higher doses to experience the same pain-relieving or euphoric effects they felt previously. Although some will build a tolerance to drugs such as pain medication, this does not mean that they will become physically or psychologically dependent on it.
Other individuals will experience physical and psychological dependence after frequently using drugs such as methamphetamine and heroin. Addiction can be both psychological and physical, and can set in quickly. However, the amount of time it takes for an individual to become addicted to a substance depends on a few factors:
- The method of injection (e.g. snorting, injecting, smoking)
- Type of substance (e.g. marijuana, methamphetamine, opioids, anti-anxiety meds, psychedelics)
- Genetic influence
- Environmental influence
- Existing mental health disorders
- Interpersonal, social, and psychological
If you or a loved one is suffering from addiction, help is only one phone call or visit away. There are several different methods and treatments to counter addiction and stay on the path of sobriety. Upon initial assessment by a medical professional, you may be recommended one or more of the following treatment methods:
- Inpatient rehabilitation
- Partial hospitalization program
- Outpatient rehabilitation
- 12-step program
- Sober living house
Bakersfield and its surrounding cities have many free or premium rehabilitation centres that specialize in treating addiction for several different substances. It’s important for you to understand how the different treatment methods work and choose a centre that’ll be most effective in aiding your recovery.
This process is the first step in your path to recovery. Upon meeting with your healthcare provider (doctor, nurse, psychologist, counsellor, or therapist), they will conduct an initial risk assessment and ask you to fill out a questionnaire as well as conduct an interview to determine whether addiction is present. The information you provide during this process will help determine the best course of action for you to take.
Because there is no legal format for the assessment, questions may vary from setting to setting, but they will generally ask about the type of drug being treated for, length of use, quantity used, personal health history, family health history, and social environments. Your answers will be kept confidential and only be used by the medical staff to determine the best treatment course for you to take. It’s normal for more than one medical professional to interview you. This is for the doctors to confirm that they have the right diagnosis and best treatment course for you.
Upon conclusion of the assessment, the medical staff will determine whether there are addiction symptoms present as well as the severity of your addiction. This information will be disclosed to you as well as professional recommendation of the next step for you to take. If you are found to only be “at risk” of addiction, the medical staff will hold an intervention for you and advise you on the steps to take to reduce your risk. If this is unsuccessful, you’ll be referred to either undergo detoxification, attend a rehabilitation clinic, attend a 12-step program, or check into a sober living home.
One of the main reasons an addict will refuse to take the next step after assessment is the cost. Some Bakersfield treatment centres can be quite costly, but it’s important to know that there are government/state funded and free clinics that are also very effective.
The detoxification process can be daunting for some recovering addicts. It’s often seen as the hardest part of recovery, but it’s crucial for recovery. Detoxification can range in length depending on your individual needs and circumstances. It weans you off the substance you have a dependence on without you having to suffer the dangerous and potentially fatal consequences of sudden cessation of use.
During the detoxification process, medical attention and supervision will be provided 24-hours. Some individuals will attempt to go through this alone, which is not recommended. Sometimes, immediate medical attention will be required when the withdrawal symptoms kick in. If you are not within immediate medical care, the consequences could be fatal. Additionally, the controlled environment provided by detoxification clinics are beneficial in preventing temptation and access to the substance you’re weaning off.
Depending on factors such as the type of substance being treated for, length of addiction, and severity of addiction, you may be given medication to control your withdrawal symptoms. Your medication prescription can be either short-term or long-term, but long-term medications can result in dependence too, so it’s important to follow the professional advice from your healthcare provider.
Some individuals choose only to go through the detoxification process on their path to recovery, but detoxification is only the first step and not the entire treatment. Relapse rates are high for those who discontinue their treatment after detoxification alone. Additionally, multiple researches have shown that recovery is most effective when incorporating detoxification and in-patient rehabilitation together.
This is the most intensive level of treatment compared to others and involves staying at a treatment facility under 24-hour medical care and supervision. You’ll receive assistance on both your psychiatric and physical health. The length of stay can vary from a few weeks to a few months and can be extended depending on the progress you make. Most people will choose not to complete this course of treatment due to the high cost, but Bakersfield removes cost as an obstacle and offers free, government/state-funded treatment and payment plans.
One of the advantages of staying at an inpatient rehabilitation is the constant medical assistance that is available to you in case you require immediate medical attention. The structured environment is 100% drug and alcohol free and if you feel cravings, professional addiction treatment specialists will talk you through steps to overcome this, so your chance of relapse is minimal.
Part of the treatment and recovery process will be the development of a healthy routine and new habits. You can expect to wake up early to enjoy a healthy breakfast. Some treatment centres will organize activities such as yoga or meditation to help you practice relaxation and begin the day with a good mindset.
After breakfast, you can expect to attend some form of counselling or therapy. Most rehabilitation centres will organize group therapy which is centred around the 12-step program. The goal of counselling is to help you recognize the problems, people, and surroundings in your life that caused your addiction. These counselling sessions will help you change specific behaviors and practice avoiding triggers once you leave the centre.
After lunch, you’ll go through the most intensive treatment of the day – either individual therapy or specialized therapy. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is one of the more commonly-used individual-therapy methods in rehabilitation centres. CBT will establish the behaviors you exhibit to specific triggers and the therapist will then guide you toward alternative, healthier behaviors to respond to those triggers. The private one-on-one therapy sessions provide you with a secure environment, so you can share your feelings or concerns freely.
Specialized therapy is designed to cater to your individual needs. This can include anger management, stress management, grief counselling, or treatment for psychological disorder. The purpose of specialized therapy is to help you improve your ability to deal with these issues rather than turning to drugs or alcohol.
Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP)
Some recovering addicts will attend a partial hospitalization program as a go-between step from inpatient treatment to outpatient treatment. PHP is a moderately intensive level of treatment that requires the patient to have either completed inpatient treatment or that their substance-related requirements do not rise to the level of intensive treatment that inpatient treatment centres provide. Bakersfield offers PHPs that cater to both adults and teenagers and include both free and paid treatment centres.
The different treatment types offered at PHPs can include cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), dialectal behavoiral therapy (DBT), and acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT).
To qualify for CBT, you must first have achieved a level of stability that doesn’t require 24-hour physical or psychological attention and be able to fully engage in all therapy sessions. You must be capable of living independently or have other suitable living arrangements. You should contact the centre beforehand to determine whether you qualify for a PHP.
As with other treatment types, your PHP will be designed around your individual needs, so pre-assessment may be required to design your personalized treatment process. Again, the information you provide during this assessment is kept confidential and will only be used to determine the most effective course of action for you. Depending on your needs, you may be required to attend therapy sessions including group therapy, individual therapy, and family therapy.
Upon discharge from your PHP, the staff will keep in contact with you to ensure you’re receiving continuous care. They may refer you to an outpatient treatment centre that will support your continued recovery.
Centres providing outpatient treatment is a great option for those with mild to moderate addiction symptoms. This type of treatment is the least invasive and means that you will experience no disruption of your daily routines. It’s perfect for those who wish to get help with their recovery but don’t want to discontinue school or work because of it.
Programs will vary from setting to setting but will generally require your attendance for a few hours and a few times a week. Because the effectiveness of outpatient treatment is limited, it is recommended for those who have received some sort of treatment (inpatient or partial hospitalization) prior. Intensive outpatient treatment requires you to attend at least 9 hours of treatment per week. These hours can be tapered down if the centre determines that you are showing progress and are at lower risk of relapse.
Evaluation or referral is a requirement for some outpatient treatment centres. This is to determine whether the centre can accommodate you and design the best treatment course for you based on your individual needs.
Upon exiting outpatient treatment, you should begin planning for your continued recovery by creating an aftercare plan. Aftercare generally involves attending community programs like Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous. Your aftercare plan should also focus on the types of continued counselling you may need and where you’ll work and live.
A sober living house is beneficial for those who feel that their current living situation is a threat to their recovery or require extra support to avoid relapse. You can check into a sober living house as an interim between rehab and mainstream society, however, it’s not a prerequisite to have attended rehab to live in a sober living house.
The structured environment provides support to those who are attempting to remain clean from drugs and alcohol, so the house is 100% drug and alcohol-free. Additionally, you may be subject to random and frequent drug-tests to ensure you’re taking the right steps in remaining sober. A curfew and other regulations will be put in place for those living at the house and failure to comply with the regulations could result in being asked to leave the premises. Group counselling sessions may also require mandatory attendance and are usually structured around the 12-step program, but this varies between house to house.
Bakersfield has a range of free and paid sober living houses. The paid houses often have medical care on premises and 24-hour supervision for residents. Treatment providers agree that sober living is beneficial in aftercare following treatment and can help you avoid relapse in the long run.