Thursday, February 21, 2019

Forest Park

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Addiction in Forest Park, Georgia

Forest Park is a small lower middle-class city, just 9 miles south of the city of Atlanta. The city has a population of 18,468. The city has a higher than average unemployment rate of 11%. Well above the national average of 5.8%. This small city is fighting a drug epidemic, not just in the streets but with their own medicine cabinets. Prescription drug abuse has become a severe problem in this tiny city. The overdose rate has more than doubled in the state of Georgia. A huge number of overdoses have occurred recently due to a mystery pill that was being labeled as Percocet and sold on the street. However, this mystery “yellow pill” has been responsible for many deaths in the Cooks County area. Unfortunately, officials are not sure what this pill is and are speculating that is made from fentanyl, an extremely potent synthetic form of heroin.

Sadly, a recent statistic stated that 24% of Georgia high school girls have taken some unknown prescription medication. This is something that the Georgia Prevention Project aims to conquer. The Georgia Prevention Project is a drug prevention program that aims to help keep teens off of drugs. It focuses in particular on prescription drugs and opioids. The Georgia Prevention Project was born from the very effective Georgia Meth Project. They have continued to use the very successful campaign “Not Even Once” to warn teens about the danger of prescription drug abuse.

The overdose rate is not something officials are expecting to decline anytime soon as a new fentanyl-based drug has emerged in the area that is twice as powerful as heroin. Even worse, this new drug is resistant to the lifesaving, heroin overdose reversing drug Narcan.

As of 2017, Georgia has implemented the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program, with hopes to help control the spiraling prescription, particularly opioid, drug abuse. This program is designed to keep prescription drugs from being over prescribed and over used. Pharmacies are required to report what they have dispensed daily. The idea is to keep the drugs from being falsely prescribed and abused.

Another way Georgia is fighting back against the opioid epidemic it is facing is the STR Opioid Grant Project. The project focuses on creating awareness of the rampant opioid problem through media coverage, such as commercials. The commercials would not only emphasize the risks and consequences associated with using heroin and opioid drugs, but also bring attention to the Good Samaritan Law. Every year, hundreds of people overdose on heroin and other opioid drugs because the people with them are afraid of getting arrested for drug possession. The Good Samaritan Law, or medical amnesty, allows anyone to call for medical services in the event of an overdose and not be arrested for drug possession. The STR Opioid Grant Project also has training sessions to educate people on the use of Narcan for overdoses.

Crime in Forest Park

The crime rate in Forest Park is 121% higher than the rest of the nation and 84% higher than the rest of the state of Georgia. As Forest Park is a small city and the 40th largest city in Georgia, it is shocking to see a crime rate that would be expected in a city 3 times larger. The crimes are unfortunately categorized as violent and the murder rate in Forest Park is 5 times higher than anywhere in the entire state. The property theft is also quite high. All of these paint a picture of the growing drug problem in this small city.

Unfortunately, for this small city the law enforcement has been under extreme scrutiny for police corruption and gang involvement. The officers in question were involved in drug transactions, taking bribes and protecting drug dealers. Although the FBI and ATF were able to root out the “dirty” cops through a sting, it leaves a stigma on the community and the local police department. It also helps explain the appalling crime rate the city has when its police force is aiding in the crime rather than fighting it. 

Drugs Abused in Forest Park

Heroin

Prescription Drug (ex: Pain Killers)

Methamphetamine

Cocaine

LSD

MDMA

Marijuana

Getting Help

To take the first step toward recovery and actively seek help is incredibly brave. It is a difficult step to decide to make such a life altering change. This is a time of rapid change and it can be very overwhelming for those entering into rehab. A rehab center will offer you true support and help to overcome your addiction and conquered your fears and anxiety. Your rehab facility will take care of all your needs, so that you can focus on your journey to recovery.

Finding A Facility

Forest Park, Georgia offers lots of rehabs to choose from. Rather than randomly select one, you or a family member should take a few minutes to research the different facilities, if possible. Not all rehabs are created equal. You will want to make sure that your rehab has three things before you begin treatment. It is important to check the facility’s success rate and if they are able to help a large percentage of patient through the recovery process. Second, it is important that your treatment facility have an aftercare program that will help maintain your sobriety once you have completed treatment. Finally, you want to make sure the rehab is accredited and licensed with the state. This is important because this sets down guidelines and standards that the center has to follow. It also means that they are required to hire staff with proper qualifications, degrees and certifications.

Making Rehab Work

The key to making rehab work is being able to be completely honest about your history and your ability to be open minded and committed to making serious changes to your life. This is an uneasy time and your emotions may be running high. It is important to realize that this is not an easy journey, but you aren’t alone. There are many people who are ready to help you succeed. 

What Is An Assessment?

An assessment is the first step when entering rehab. An interview is conducted in order for the health care specialist to determine the extent the of your addiction. They will need to ascertain your detailed drug history, and then they can create a specialized treatment program for you. The most important part of your assessment is for you to be completely transparent with your health care specialist. Although this might be incredibly uncomfortable, sharing your personal history with a stranger, but your honesty is what will help them understand the degree of your drug problem and help them help you. If there should be any underlying mental health issues, this can also be determined during the assessment.

What Is Pre-Intake?

At Pre-Intake, the treatment facility will determine if you require detox for your particular drug addiction. They will also assign a therapist that will work best with you. They will take your physical and mental health in to consideration at this time and determine how best to treat you.

What Is Intake?

Intake is the enrollment process. The rehab facility will select your placement, based on your assessment, and process your insurance. They will arrange for you to be placed into a detox, inpatient or outpatient program.

What Is Detox?

Certain drug addictions require a period in detox. The body will crave the drug if the patient should quit outright. This might be the hardest part of the treatment process. When the body is craving the drug, it will be hard not to give into the craving. It is imperative that you are placed in a medical detox facility that is prepared for all the withdraw symptoms that you will experience.

A medical detox facility can also dispense medication that will ease some of the withdraw symptoms. These can make not only the cravings subside but help with some of the more serious symptoms of drug withdraw. 24-hour supervision is necessary to help the patient over this particularly precarious hump.

What Is Inpatient Treatment?

Inpatient Treatment is usually carried out in a hospital setting. The patient is under constant supervision. This treatment is necessary for those patients who have severe addictions or who have previously undetected mental disorders that have intensified their drug addiction and inability to cope with life without drugs. The time that a patient will spend in inpatient treatment is at the therapist’s discretion and based upon the severity the addiction.

What Is RTC - Residential Treatment Center?

In a residential treatment center, patients have a slightly more relaxed, home type setting. The patients still will receive round the clock assistance, but they are not under constant supervision. These patients do not require the intense treatment for their addiction or do not possess any mental illness that hinders their recovery. Patients will participate in daily meetings and therapy sessions.

What Is PHP - Partial Hospitalization Program?

The next step down from residential, this treatment program allows the patient more freedom and responsibility for their recovery. The patient starts the process to reenter their normal life. The continual supervision begins to shift into more obligation on the patient’s side. The patient still has full support from the rehab staff, although they are able to manage their own medication and have some independence. Typically, they are housed in a sober living community and they still attend daily meetings and therapy sessions. This is a critical step in their treatment toward returning to a normal life.

What Is IOP - Intensive Outpatient Program?

Intensive Outpatient Program is primarily for patients who do not require detox. They are also able to continue their sobriety on their own and not require constant supervision. Patients are able to live at home and continue working, parenting and living their normal life. However, they will continue to participate in daily therapy sessions. The goal of Intensive Outpatient Program is to help individuals quell the longing for the drugs they were addicted to and to use coping skills and determination to stay sober.

What Is Outpatient Treatment?

Outpatient treatment is for patients who do not require continual supervision and they are capable of remaining sober without the constant support from rehab staff. Although they will still receive the help and support of the rehab staff. They will be expected to attend daily meetings but without the intensity of the Intensive Outpatient Treatment.

What Is Aftercare?

This is an important part of the recovery process. Patients who have completed the drug rehabilitation program need this to help them continue to maintain their sobriety. About half of the recovered addicts that complete treatment will eventually return to using drugs. Sadly, this is a reality if the reformed addict doesn’t have the support and follow up treatment. The 12-step program, that those in recovery are asked to join, acts as a life line and support system. It is easy to fall back into bad habits without reinforcement. Aftercare is a life long commitment. 

What Is Sober Living?

This is a transition home for patients who aren’t ready to leave treatment completely. They might feel that they still need the on-site support that sober living offers. There are stringent rules that residents need to abide by. The half way houses give the patients freedom and they are not required to stay on campus. They can leave and return at any time they want. This is a critical step in their treatment. They are able to use all the coping skills that they have learned in treatment to deal with real life. The support from the staff and the other residents at the half way house can help recovered addicts stay sober.

You Are In Control Of Your Recovery

Deciding to seek help from your addiction is a brave step. It will be a hard journey but one of the most incredible ones you will ever take. You may feel alone, but there are caring individuals that will be there to help you continue on, to stay strong when you feel like quitting and to cheer you on when you are close to succeeding. 

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