Monday, June 17, 2019

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Newnan, Georgia Addiction and Rehabilitation

The state of Georgia has encountered an alarming increase in rates of opiate usage over the past decade. While methamphetamine usage was once the leading problem within the region, opiate based drugs have taken its place as the most frequently occuring source of overdose and drug related crimes. Due in part to high access to opioid based prescription painkillers, many have become so addicted to these drugs that they have turned to black market sources to alleviate their chemical dependency. These activities have led to adjacent increases in crime and antisocial behaviors, negatively impacting the community at large. As a result, treatment and rehabilitation centers have become critical outlets for many in Newnan who have drug and alcohol recovery needs, and also for community members who strive to reduce drug and crime rates in the area.

Substance Addiction in Youth

Drug addictions, particularly related to opiates, have also become an increasing problem with Georgia state youth. Due to ease of access and distribution channels in social media, youth opiate use and addiction in Georgia has never been higher. Georgia’s rate of illicit pain reliever usage amongst youth, aged 12 to 17, resembles that of the United States, with approximately 5% reporting they have tried prescription opiate based pain relieves for nonmedical purposes. However, this rate has risen quite faster in Georgia than within the broader United States, leading to an emergent problem that requires immediate solutions.

Causes of Increased Substance Usage

In the large urban center of nearby Atlanta, drug use is much higher and many of the causes of drug use in the city migrate to smaller communities like Newnan. Heroin use has demonstrated the largest increase in usage over the past half-decade, which many believe is due to the introduction of opiate based prescription painkillers as part of regular treatments for medical conditions. As individuals become addicted to these painkillers and the drugs begin to lose their effectiveness, some patients may turn to harder substances like heroin to relieve their chemical dependency. These street drugs are actually cheaper and easier to access for many community members because they do no require a doctor’s prescription for a clear medical problem. More than 5% of the adult population in Atlanta seeks help for opiate based addictions each year. This rate of opiate and heroin usage has grown in contrast to falling rates of other drugs, like cocaine and methamphetamines. Furthermore, overdoses on opiate based prescription painkillers have quadrupled in Georgia during the period from 1999 to 2017, which serves as a testament to the increased availability and access to these drugs.

Substance Usage and Crime Rates

As with all illicit drugs, high rates of drug addictions and usage in the Atlanta area and nearby regions like Newnan have also impacted crime rates. While general crime rates in Georgia have dropped from 1990 to 2018, Violent and drug related crimes have increased during this same period. From 2008 and beyond, a particularly large increase in drug related crimes has been observed, which has largely coincided with the influx in opiate overdose and addictions during this time. This crime has not only had a negative impact on the community, but has required that law enforcement agencies and other social institutions allocate resources to fighting the symptoms of a growing problem rather than focusing on long-term preventative solutions. Pharmacies have been particularly impacted by increased rates of opiate use and overdose over the past few decades, as a sharp increase in pharmacy robberies has occurred in the state of Georgia to obtain and distribute painkillers on the street. At least $100,000 worth of opiate based prescription painkillers are believed to be stolen from Georgia pharmacies each year. Georgia is currently in the top 10 in the United States in terms of armed robberies of pharmacies. Mexican drug cartels have also capitalized on these higher rates of addiction, with trafficking and violent crime pertaining to Georgia based cartels becoming an increasing problem in the state as well.

The Importance of Seeking Treatment for Substance Use Problems

While a variety of treatment options do exist in Georgia and in Newnan in particular, a small percentage of the population does not seek or receive the help it needs. Recent estimates suggest that at least 2% of those youth needing treatment for substance use do not receive proper treatment. While lower than the national average of 3%, this still represents thousands of youth in the state who will go on to lead lives of addiction. A total of 3% of adolescents report needing treatment for illicit substance use but not receiving, which is on par with the national average. Unmet recovery needs in youth eventually can result in far greater and more longitudinal problems, such as crime. Therefore, there is a clear need to understand available treatment options within local communities to combat this growing problem.

Treatment and Recovery Options in Newnan, GEORGIA

Newnan boasts several drug and alcohol recovery centers that utilize contemporary rehabilitation research and techniques to promote long-term recovery from addiction. Within the Newnan area, there are three larger inpatient rehabilitation and wellness centers and multiple smaller, outpatient clinics. Within many of these clinics are both partial inpatient and outpatient treatment options to meet patients at all stages or recovery and with a range of drug and/or alcohol recovery needs. Regardless of your treatment needs, it is critical that early intervention is sought to prevent further struggles with addiction and relapse. Seeking treatment is the first step toward long-term recovery and approaching a sober life.

Online Services

In addition to in-person recovery centers, there are also now several online services and programs designed to meet recovery needs of those with drug and alcohol addictions. Such programs can be effective as standalone therapies in many cases, but are most effective when considered as supplements to inpatient therapeutic environments because they do lack the ability to oversee medical care like detoxification. However, for many, online services are an excellent introduction into outpatient, partial inpatient, or full inpatient care.

Components of Treatment and Recovery for Drug and Alcohol Problems

Fortunately, there are many opportunities to seek help in the case of addiction for residents of Newnan, Georgia. When engaged in treatment, there are a range of steps that must be undertaken in order to fulfil long-term rehabilitation goals. A typical addictions recovery program in the state of Georgia will likely include an initial assessment, pre-intake, intake, detoxification, inpatient or outpatient treatment, after care, and then ongoing promotion of sober living. Each of these stages is critical in achieving a full recovery and preventing the factors that contribute to relapse. Each of these stages and what they entail is discussed in further detail below.

Assessment

An assessment involves the administration of an evidence based screening tool in order to gain a valid determination of the type(s) of substances being consumed, frequency of usage, causes of usage, effects, and potential treatment needs. Examples of tools that might be given include the NIDA Drug Use Screening Tool, CRAFFT, Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test-C, Opioid Risk Tool, Brief Screener for Alcohol, tobacco, and other Drugs, and Screening to Brief Intervention instrument. Each requires subjective self-report to identify drug and alcohol use patterns and to begin the appropriate path toward recovery. The use of an evidence based screening tool is combined with a subjective evaluation by a licensed chemical addictions specialist, who can accurately diagnose a substance use disorder and make appropriate referrals for ongoing treatment. This initial assessment assists in the subsequent pre-intake and intake.

Pre-Intake

The pre-intake is a critical step in the drug addiction recovery process and informs the more thorough intake. During the pre-intake, the new client will be required to fill out additional forms that help provide insight into personal requests for substance recovery services and to make an accurate referral based on specific rehabilitative needs. Based on information gathered in the pre-intake, the more comprehensive and complete intake can be performed that will eventually provide the pathway to recovery.

Intake

Following the assessment and pre-intake, a more thorough intake is needed to accurately diagnose the exact drug and/or substance use problem and to begin steps toward recovery. An intake is an extension of the pre-intake and designed to intervene in the event of a crisis, determine eligibility for treatment, clarify alliances in the treatment process, provide education about substance abuse, and to consider potential barriers to treatment.

Detox

In many cases, a detoxification period is necessary in order to safely remove chemical drivers of substance usage behaviors and to begin working toward full recovery. A medical detoxification is a clinically supervised removal of toxins introduced by illicit substances that have previously created a state of physical dependence. Eliminating this physical dependence is essential in preventing relapse and further addictive behaviors throughout the treatment process. This experience can be stressful and potentially traumatic, and medical staff are qualified and trained to provide psychological and emotional support to help guide patients through this process.

Inpatient Treatment (RTC, PHP, IOP)

More severe cases of physical dependency that create unsafe environments and/or physical withdrawals may require continued professional supervision and inpatient treatment may be a requisite for recovery. An inpatient stay also allows for patients to fully engage in the treatment and recovery process, free from distractions and environmental stressors that contribute to previous patterns of substance abuse. A residential treatment center (RTC) is a full live-in treatment center in which recovery from substance addiction is the main focus of the client’s life. Partial hospitalization treatment (PHP) is a more intensive variation of outpatient, non-residential care that provides the opportunity for additional supervision but does not require that patients live within the facility full time. An intensive outpatient program is similar to that of a PHP, but does not require detoxification.

Outpatient Treatment

Whether initially placed in inpatient care or not, outpatient treatment is essential for maintaining recovery and preventing relapse over time. Outpatient treatment places less residential restrictions on the patient. However, motivation and commitment on the part of the patient is necessary during this process, which requires approximately 10 or more hours each week while therapeutic services are performed to meet recovery needs.

Aftercare

Whether initially placed in inpatient care or not, outpatient treatment is essential for maintaining recovery and preventing relapse over time. Outpatient treatment places less residential restrictions on the patient. However, motivation and commitment on the part of the patient is necessary during this process, which requires approximately 10 or more hours each week while therapeutic services are performed to meet recovery needs.

Sober Living

Sober living is more than just a phrase, but a philosophy, mission, and way of life. Sober living is the primary aim of addictions recovery programs and requires a lifelong commitment on the part of patients and their respective doctors. Transitional homes exist within the Newnan, Georgia community to help promote sober living and to provide additional social and practical resources for clients suffering from addictions. Such facilities promote continuity of care as clients transition from inpatient or partial residential programs to communities. Staffed with trained therapists and also other patients recovering from addictions, sober living facilities help patients build healthy relationships in the community that are not based on drugs or alcohol.

Additional Considerations

When exploring treatment and recovery center options, additional considerations that must be made include reviews by clients, ratings by professionals, location and proximity, and also preference for a particular approach to recovery. Some clinics emphasize strictly medical care, while others promote holistic healing that includes psychological and emotional recovery needs. Patient centered care should be evident as a priority in any treatment center that you choose. The treatment center you choose should also demonstrate a history of treating clients with dignity and respect. Cost may also be a consideration based on your financial status and insurance availability.

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