Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Visalia

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SUBSTANCE ABUSE STATISTICS AND RECOVERY RESOURCES IN VISALIA, CALIFORNIA

Visalia and Tulare County are sometimes known as quiet hotbeds for drug trafficking, and abuse. The city and surrounding County receive federal funding, earmarked as it is due to the status as status as a High Intensity Drug Trafficking (HIDTA) stronghold.  

Consistent with present statewide (and national) trends, the abuse of prescription opioids is not only a problem for those who use, but also with the children of those who use who steal the medication to sell on the street, or otherwise trade for pot or alcohol – preferred substances for their own personal usage. 

Based in part on recent statistics and studies, our outlook for Visalia is this: Drug traffickers will continue to pivot and take advantage of the opioid epidemic. Stronger synthetic heroin will increase production. Opioid abuse will increase pending still-further efforts. Pot and Alcohol use will remain consistent, especially popular among young people. Cocaine may continue to decrease, but will remain readily-accessible. And, treatment center admissions for meth abuse will continue to increase, until federal funding reaches a point to where this particular ongoing issue is more effectively contained.

For yourself, your friends and/or your family, we advise that you continue to be aware of your community’s substance issues, and suggest that you join in Visalia various educational efforts to curb drug abuse. Regularly check The Recover for updated information.

Awareness and communication, as ever, is imperative to any such efforts.

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If you live in Visalia or Tulare County, and have fallen victim to substance abuse don’t hesitate to seek treatment. There are enormous resources in at your disposal.

ABOUT THE CITY

Visalia, a city of great natural beauty, is situated in California’s San Joaquin Valley. It is San Joaquin’s fifth-largest city, behind Fresno, Bakersfield, Stockton and Modesto, and the 44th most populous city in the state. San Joaquin itself is a region of Tulare County. Visalia is approximately 230 miles southeast of San Francisco, and 190 miles from Los Angeles. The population of Visalia was listed at 130,104 in the 2015 census.

The city was incorporated in 1874.

Visalia’s economy is driven by agricultural interests, including grapes, cotton, citrus, livestock and the manufacturing of products to those industries. The city’s racial makeup is primarily Caucasian, at 85%. Asian is the next highest ethnic group in terms of residency, at 5%, followed by African American at 2%. The most recently measured median household income was just over $65,000 for a household with a family, which is just above the U.S. average.

Visalia shares a similar drug culture with much of the state, which may be considered surprising based on its primarily agricultural nature. Pot and alcohol are most popular with young people, college-aged and below. For those older, prescription opiates and the abuse of methamphetamine are the city’s largest problems. Treatment admissions for cocaine is below the national average, but like many such admissions still typically shows poly-use, or more than one drug in the system at the time of treatment center admittance. Heroin use is growing and frequently laced for greater power, especially as misuse of painkillers fails, after time, to deliver its desired effect on the part of the user.

Finally, the city is divided into various neighborhoods, each with its own personality: North Visalia, The Eastside, Southwest Visalia, Mooney, the Westside, and The Industrial Area.

Visalia’s main downtown area is like most: a mix of new and old architecture, rich in theater and music, as well as fine cuisine.     

STATEWIDE DRUG ISSUES

For perspective as to Visalia’s drug issues, which we will list in the next section, the following bullet points elucidate some general information about California’s most notable current drug issues:

  • In 2017, fatalities from substance abuse exceeded 15 per day. Substance abuse is presently considered the #1 cause for premature deaths in the state, surpassing car accidents, firearm accidents, homicides and suicides.
  • Of particular note is 35% of car accidents were said to be drug-related.
  • Further state-wide statistics include the following: Up to 45,000 California emergency room visits each year are due to drug overdoses, or injuries related to abuse. Heroin, once more of an urban drug issue, has expanded to the state’s suburbs. According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), between 2002 and 2017, heroin use statewide increased 67%. In various cities, heroin usage has decreased from 2015-2017, which some are saying may foreshadow the beginning of a trend.
  • As with so much of the rest of the country, California’s fastest-growing issue is that of prescription opioids, or painkillers. In 2017, deaths from opiate overdoses exceeded 50,000 nationally, with California as among the very top states so effected. Similarly, methamphetamine abuse has reached epidemic proportions, while pot and alcohol use exceeds the national average by nearly 10%.
  • California has been labeled by the DOJ (Department of Justice) as a HIDTA (High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area) stronghold. The major reason is its proximity to Mexico, as Mexican DTOs (Drug Trafficking Organizations) are prevalent throughout the state, which remains their primary source of business.
  • Drug Trafficking Organizations (DTOs), as with many large cities, are common, which adds to further difficulty in containing the state’s drug problems.

Here’s a note to consider: When you read statistics such as these listed above, always realize that you are who matters. If you are successful in weaning yourself from your drug or alcohol habit, you will be in a position to pay it forward and ultimately help others do the same.

VISALIA CITYWIDE DRUG ISSUES

Crime statistics in the Visalia unveil a community where children in particular are subject to considerable trauma. Such early trauma appears to be a major factor in the city’s considerable drug issues. For example, violent crime and sex-related offenses both are nearly 50% above those in California’s major urban areas. Many of the young people so effected become substance abusers at an early age.

Further, environmental stress leads to prescriptions, and other chemical dependencies ensue from there. Lack of healthy parent-child attachments are strong, and many chemically dependent have children at an early age.

The following are some average citywide trends from the past five years. Of Visalia’s regular illicit drug users …

  • In Tulare County proper, abuse of most synthetic hallucinogens (inclusive of cathinones, or “bath salts”) accounted for a small percentage of both emergency room visits, and treatment center admissions, and continued to drop off sharply year-to-year from its height in 2010.
  • Approximately 2,550 Visalia residents, on average annually, have been admitted to treatment centers due to abuse of marijuana;
  • Over 1100 residents, on average annually, have been admitted to treatment centers due to abuse of prescription drugs (opiates);
  • 450 residents yearly, on average, have been admitted to treatment centers due to abuse of cocaine;
  • Nearly 200 treatment center admissions, on average annually, have been due to hallucinogen use;
  • 110 treatment center admissions, on average annually have been due to abuse of inhalants;
  • 25 residents on average per year are admitted to local treatment centers due to abuse of heroin;
  • It is estimated that in 2018, nearly 100 people will be killed by effects from smoking tobacco as a primary cause;;
  • For the same calendar year (2018), it is estimated that 25 will die from effects directly related to alcohol abuse as a primary cause;
  • Official estimates are up to 400 residents will be arrested for drug charges in 2018.
  • Cocaine has dropped as both a primary and partial cause of treatment center admissions from 21.2% in 2013, to less than 20% in 2017.
  • In 2013, pot use among 11th grade high school students broke down as follows: 1) 32% of all males and 23% of all females used the drug recreationally. 2) Marijuana as a primary cause of accounted for over 19% of treatment center admissions in 2013. 3) Nearly one-third of those admitted for pot abuse were younger than 18.
  • Estimated 2018 statistics for citywide marijuana usage were consistent with 2013 figures, plus or minus a statistical margin of error of 3%.
  • Treatment admissions for meth as both the primary, and a cause in conjunction with poly-use, has been on the upswing since 2013, when it accounted for 9.4% of said admissions.
  • In 2017, meth use accounted for over 11% of all treatment center admissions.
  • Heroin and meth treatment center admissions are expected to follow current trends and end the calendar year 2018 at an all-time high as it regards both admissions and fatalities.
  • Alcohol remains a major issue for Visalia, accounting for an average of nearly 50% of all treatment admissions since 2013, consistent with national figures.

The drug issues in Visalia are strong.  Visalia, as part of a HIDTA (High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area) stronghold, presently receives federal funding to fight its drug issues.

The Addiction Treatment Process

There are various steps involved in addiction treatment and recovery. Having knowledge of them can help just about anyone understand how treatment is done. Here is a list of FAQ about rehab to look over.

PRE-INTAKE RESOURCES

Pre-intake is the process whereby a concerned user believes they may have a problem, and they begin the process of seeking help.

Frequently, if trust is not an issue, one will turn to a loved one – a family member or a friend – and casually inquire as to their thoughts on getting help for what may be a “problem.” If trust is an issue, however, the safety of internet research to find helpful resources is always an option.

Always remind yourself of this: Help is always out there.

If you look online, you will find several resources to guide you. We are happy you have found The Recover, as we are dedicated to your success.

As you consider your options, ask yourself the following questions: “How long have I been using?”

“Do I believe I have a problem?” “Do I think others who know me believe I have a substance-related problem?” “Does it matter to me?” “Have others confronted me with questions related to substance abuse?” “Do I use alone, or in hiding?” “Have I ever substituted one drug for another, thinking one particular drug was the problem?” “Do I find the thought of running out of drugs scary?” “Have I ever been in a jail, a hospital, or a drug rehabilitation center because of any using in the past?” “Is this what I want with my life?”

If you find your answers to the following questions alarming, we suggest that you follow up with other, more positive questions: “What are my life’s goals?” “Where do I want to be in my life one year from now?” “Where do I want to be in my life five years from now?” “Where do I want to be in my life ten years from now?”

If like many users you cannot answer such goal-related questions, try this: “Where do I want to be tomorrow?” If your answer to this question is dark, or bleak, and related to depression, it’s time to seek treatment. Similarly, if your answer is something positive, the very fact that you have come to this point and have begun researching options also means it’s time to seek treatment.

If you do, your tomorrow may be exactly what you want it to be.

A brief disclaimer: As with any other self-diagnostic tool, questions such as these are exploratory only. You must speak to a trained and licensed professional for any true diagnosis. Still, answering these questions can be extremely useful, and insightful. Remember, if you are under the influence as you answer, you may not be the best arbiter of your responses. If, however, you can be truthful with your responses, the results of your subsequent efforts can be invaluable.

INTAKE SERVICES

You have answered the questions and you have decided to get help. Good job. We commend you.

Now what?

During the intake application process, you will be required to list your prescription medications and days and times taken (if “none,” you check “none”), an authorization of medical care, a list of allergies or other medical issues, and a waiver of responsibility. Some applications ask for more. A physician or treatment center representative will then review your application for the proper steps, and treatment.

One of the greatest benefits of a well-thought treatment plan is that every day will bring a new step in your treatment, and each step will lead to another. During this process, you may well learn of the stringency and urgency of structure, especially if your problem is too large for outpatient therapy, and in-patient will be your next step. The structure you learn and the discipline you will attain will help you immensely during one of the advanced stages of your formal treatment process: the sober house.

Conversely, one of the more difficult aspects of the intake process is one of trust. We all know that a user does not always trust easily. If you fall into this category, we need to reinforce to you that your treatment team is there for you. They will spend the time working with you and for you. In as much as you can, speak to them openly. If you believe a given treatment as administered by a professional is disagreeable to you, you need to make that known to them.

We’ve spoken about the power of commitment on these pages before. There will be an element in your treatment of letting go of any defiance and trusting others. Trust usually comes in time.

As we said, intake is but a step in a larger process.

DETOXIFICATION SERVICES

Detox addresses the physical hold of an addiction. The length of a detox program will vary based on several factors, including the nature of the addiction, and of the addict’s personality. Regarding the former, chemical dependency frequently occurs that must be medically handled, as your brain has become fully dependent on further use of the substance in order to function. This is a medical issue that will frequently require medication to handle.

During the early phases on detoxification, withdrawal will occur which can be a painful process. Your system will be cleaned of the drug, and your brain will learn to operate as it once did. Certain withdrawal symptoms can be life-threatening, which punctuates the importance of full and systemic treatment. 

The concept and practice of detox is typically broken down into three distinct phases: Evaluation, Stabilization, and Transition to Inpatient Drug Rehabilitation.

What is withdrawal? How long does it last?

INPATIENT TREATMENT RESOURCES

Post-withdrawal, the process of your ongoing recovery can be either inpatient, or outpatient. Inpatient treatment is appropriate for more severe cases, and the generally more flexible outpatient treatment is geared towards those with a more moderate addiction (though addiction is still addiction) and a stronger support system in their home environment.

Inpatient treatment can either be a PHP (a partial hospitalization providing a highly-structured environment, with typically active treatment of 30 hours per week), the less-intensive IOP (intensive outpatient treatment plan, which requires up to three hours daily over 3-5 days, for a total of nine hours weekly; therapy is usually included, but the patient can live either at their own home or a halfway house during the process), or an RTC (residential).

Most inpatient therapies, regardless of option will last 5-10 days. They can last longer based on the severity of the problem, and the patient’s physical and mental fitness.

Among its services, a PHP will most frequently incorporate intensive one on one therapy in its treatment program. The reason for this is most PHP admissions are due to disturbances in behavior from the drug being abused, or for those who experience otherwise increased symptomatology. In a PHP, the patient is often isolated and of no risk to other patients. 

PHPs and RTCs are highly-structured treatment options. PHPs are the most structured options of all. If you have little structure in your home environment, both of these invaluable choices will likely take some time getting used to. That said, the importance to your overall treatment plan cannot be understated.

Note: Substance use disorder treatment is listed as one of the 10 Most Essential Health Benefits of the Affordable Care Act, meaning that your care is covered if you have health insurance. If you do not have insurance, many treatment centers offer financial aid.

Always ask when you speak to a treatment advisor if this is a concern, as inpatient treatment is more expensive than outpatient.

OUTPATIENT TREATMENT RESOURCES

Outpatient treatment is often preferred when one has substantial duties in their outside environment, such as school or family. In fact, family and friend group therapy is often included in this option, which is quite flexible in its scheduling. Outpatient treatment has proven to be very effective for those with underlying causes for their addiction, such as eating disorders, to grasp the root of their substance-related issues in a more relaxed setting among familiar support systems.

As an outpatient, you are not enmeshed in a structured environment, you live at home and you are not under constant supervision.

However, outpatient treatment is no less important or helpful than inpatient treatment. Though the scheduling of your appointments may be flexible, you still need to commit to the time. If you miss one appointment, you will likely miss another. 

Ask yourself if you are responsible enough for an outpatient program. If you are, and you maintain your treatment, the rewards can be innumerable.

Both inpatient and outpatient treatment are comprehensive approaches to wellness. You will face temptations in both but as long as you remain responsible, you will also learn specific strategies as to how to deal with them. It is up to you to take advantage of those lessons.

Should I choose inpatient or outpatient?

AFTERCARE AND SOBER LIVING RESOURCES

Sober living may be the final step in your formal treatment plan before returning home, but treatment never really ends. Sober living houses provide the interim environment between rehab and mainstreaming back to your natural environment. The reason for the initial formation of sober houses was simple: a person in recovery frequently needed a safe and supportive place to stay, during the vulnerability of early recovery, prior to returning home.

Sober houses are also highly-structured, and most residents are referred to a sober living environment from a rehab center. Requirements and rules are strict, and they usually include:

  • No drugs or alcohol on the premises;
  • No violence;
  • No overnight or sleepover guests, not even family;
  • Commitment to random drug testing;
  • Involvement in a community-related program;
  • Acceptance by a peer group;
  • Acceptance of advice from treatment professionals;
  • Respect for the rules of the house;
  • Following all directions;
  • No swearing;
  • No stealing;
  • No sexual activity between residents;
  • Honesty;
  • As part of a recovering community, if you see or hear any resident breaking the rules of the community, they must be reported immediately to appropriate staff;
  • Anyone on prescribed medication must inform the house manager upon admittance;
  • Residents must attend all sober house meetings;
  • Residents must submit to drug and/or alcohol tests upon request;
  • Rooms must be clean at all times;
  • Chores must be completed without argument;
  • Curfew must be respected.

Many of the above rules are enforced with a Zero Tolerance Policy. Meaning, if any of these rules are broken even once, you risk being kicked out of your sober living home. If you had experienced structure during your prior treatment to this point, you should be in good shape.

What happens after discharge?

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