Thursday, July 18, 2019

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Addiction in Warner Robins, Georgia and How to Find Help

The city of Warner Robins, Georgia is in Houston County and is in the center of the state. As of the 2010 census, the city had 66,588 residents. Between 2001 and 2010 the population in this city grew by over 34% but unfortunately so did the level of residents that have substance use disorders.

The state of Georgia is among the top 11 states with the most opioid overdose deaths, and 55 Georgia counties have an overdose rate higher than the national average.

While the opioid problem was typically seen as a northern Georgia problem that surrounded the Atlanta area, it’s now slowly moving into the rest of the state, including the city of Warner Robins.

For many years, this city didn’t have any one particular type of drug that was a problem. Like many areas, residents were addicted to everything from marijuana to cocaine but in more recent years one particular drug has started to see an increase in use. That drug is heroin.

Why is heroin use on the rise? Part of it is the fact that it can be inhaled, injected, or smoked. Another reason is that it’s become cheaper than many other drugs. According to officials, heroin-related drug investigations are now up 81% throughout the United States.

Another drug that is starting to make more of an appearance is fentanyl. In fact, people are using fentanyl to mix with another drug called U-47700. Five people in Warner Robins died from taking this drug mixture and several others were hospitalized. Not long after this, another set of overdoses occurred which left seven people in critical condition. One person was even found in the nearby town of Centerville. Fentanyl is extremely dangerous because it’s so potent. It can also be absorbed through bare skin which has put police officers and emergency responders in danger.

Other drugs that are commonly used in Warner Robins include marijuana, alcohol, and stimulants. In fact, methamphetamine use is also on the rise. Georgia officials reported the number of meth labs found by law enforcement increased 91% between 2007 and 2009.

Why Warner Robins Has An Addiction Crisis

The state of Georgia is a huge part of a drug-smuggling route along the East Coast and drug users have easy access to drugs there. It shares a border with five other states and several drugs are trafficked through the state’s highways. The world’s busiest airport is also found here but unfortunately, Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport is a final stopping point for many drug trafficking operations.

Warner Robins has a low overall violent crime rate but unfortunately, it has a high level of property crime, which is no doubt at least partially related to its high level of drug addiction. And despite historically having a low rate of violent crime, these numbers are now rising. The city of Warner Robins has experienced an increase in violent crime numbers for the second year in a row.

How Georgia Is Fighting Addiction

Georgia has created several laws in an attempt to get its addiction crisis under control. A 2013 law allows the Georgia Composite Medical Board to manage and license pain clinics which helps law enforcement monitor and investigate them when needed. This stops drug dealers from using doctor offices as pill mills.

Georgia has also implemented a Medical Amnesty Law which offers legal protection for people who experience or witness an overdose. Many people in these situations have been afraid to call for help due to a fear of being arrested. Now people are no longer afraid to reach out for help. The law also increased public access to a drug called naloxone. Naloxone is a medication that can reverse an opioid-related overdose. Doctors can now prescribe naloxone to anyone that knows someone at risk for an overdose.

Georgia Drug Courts

Georgia also implements drug courts to help those with addiction that have been convicted of a crime. Some drug courts will only accept first-time offenders but others will take on individuals with several prior convictions. Drug courts tend to last between one to two years.

During the first part of a drug court, which is the most intense phase, a participant receives treatment which ranges from several group counseling sessions a week to an intensive outpatient treatment program.

Participants have to attend several 12-step meetings a week (like Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous), provide a urine sample on a random basis, hold a job or attend school, and attend weekly or biweekly court hearings so the drug court judge can check their progress.

Later on, the program becomes less demanding. One example is that curfews are relaxed over time and counseling sessions become less frequent.

A drug court team usually includes a coordinator, a judge, a prosecutor, a defense attorney, a law enforcement official, a probation officer, and a drug counselor.

Drug Laws In Warner Robins, Georgia

The state of Georgia has very strict drug laws and over 40,000 individuals are arrested in this state every year for drug-related activity.

Georgia uses a classification system to determine the risk of different types of drugs. Every drug is listed under five different “schedules” based on each drug’s potential to cause addiction in a user. Schedule I and II substances are extremely addictive and dangerous, while drugs in schedules III, IV, and V are considered less addictive.

Schedule I drugs include heroin, ecstasy, and marijuana. Schedule II includes methamphetamine, methadone, and cocaine. Schedule III includes ketamine and stimulants. Schedule IV includes benzodiazepines. Schedule V lists cough suppressants like dextromethorphan.

If you are found with less than an ounce of marijuana you’ll be charged with a misdemeanor and you may spend a year in jail or be fined $1,000. The state will also suspend your driving license. However, if you are caught in possession of more than an ounce you’ll be facing serious felony charges.

Medical marijuana is legal in Georgia but the laws regarding the use of it are very strict. According to state law, a patient can only use a cannabidiol, which is a low-THC oil derived from the marijuana plant. It’s only legal to obtain it from a doctor that is registered with the Georgia Department of Public Health. This oil can only be 5% THC or less and the patient must not have more than 20 fluid ounces at a time.

There are only a few medical conditions that are eligible for treatment with medical marijuana and those include AIDS, Alzheimer’s disease, epidermolysis bullosa, peripheral neuropathy, autism, Tourette’s syndrome, Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), severe seizures due to epilepsy or head trauma, multiple sclerosis, cancer, Crohn’s disease, mitochondrial disease, Parkinson’s, and sickle cell anemia.

Heroin and other opiates are controlled substances. If you are found with any amount of these drugs you can be charged with a felony and punished with up to 15 years in prison. If you are convicted a second time you may receive 5-30 years.

Selling heroin is considered worse than merely possessing it. Any sale of heroin will result in an automatic felony charge and carries a minimum sentence of five years in prison. If you are caught selling heroin more than once you will be put in prison for life.

Having over four grams of heroin is considered drug trafficking. Drug trafficking is punished with an automatic five-year sentence along with a $50,000 fine. If you are charged with trafficking between four and fourteen grams you’ll receive a sentence of up to twenty-eight years and a $100,000 fine. Any amount of heroin over twenty-eight grams is a mandatory punishment of at least twenty-five years and a $500,000 fine.

The reason these laws are so strict is that heroin and other opioids are extremely addictive. The government of Georgia wants to create a strong incentive for not getting involved with drugs. Drug addiction can harm not just the user but other people as well because some addicts are more likely to steal or commit other crimes in order to obtain money for drugs. Addiction also puts a huge burden on hospitals and caregivers. It also hurts the addict’s family and can lead to divorce and loss of child custody.

Georgia’s efforts are going a long way to prevent the drug crisis from getting worse.

Even though accidental deaths from drugs have skyrocketed in the past few years, several Warren Robins citizens are seeking addiction treatment. The rehab centers in the area are prepared to help anyone that needs treatment for any kind of addiction.

If you or any of your loved ones are suffering then you need to reach out for help today.

What Happens During The Assessment For Addiction Treatment?

The Initial Assessment, Intake, and Detox

If you need help recovering from drug addiction your first step is to be evaluated by a Physician.

Your treatment team will also need to get an overview of your history and background. This will help your team determine what type of recovery program would be best for you.

Then you’ll need to give them your consent for admission into a treatment program.

Within 24 hours of being admitted to a treatment program, you’ll go through the program’s orientation. This is where a staff member will explain things like the treatment you’ll receive, the benefits of the treatment, and the expected outcome. They’ll also explain your rights, your responsibilities, and the program’s rules.

You’ll either be in an outpatient or inpatient detox center while you go through detoxification. You’ll likely be given a medication like Subutex or something similar to help you safely go through withdrawal.

Types of Treatment Centers and Rehabs

There are different types of recovery programs. A Residential Treatment Center (RTC) lets you live at the facility. Prices can range from free up to tens of thousands of dollars. The price usually depends on whether or not you are looking for luxury or privacy.

Long-term programs usually refer to treatment that lasts longer than 28 days. There are many 60 and 90 day programs but some actually last up to a year or longer.

A Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP) is an option for people that have either completed an inpatient program or for personal reasons need an outpatient program. People that are in these types of recovery centers are not required to stay overnight. These programs are great for people that have already gone through an inpatient program and understand that while they still need to work hard to recover, they no longer need 24-hour treatment. Treatment at a PHP is usually about 6 hours a day for 5 days a week.

There are also Intensive Outpatient Programs. These programs rely on counseling sessions that usually last 3 hours a day, 3 days a week. These programs can involved individual therapy but there is more of a focus on group therapy. In an IOP, patients work to develop their relapse prevention skills and learn ways to practice cognitive behavior therapy, dialectical behavioral therapy, or motivational enhancement therapy. The amount of time these programs last depends on every individual’s personal needs.

PHP and IOP programs cost less than residential recovery programs, but the goals are the same. All of these programs work to help people achieve and maintain sobriety.

Aftercare and Sober Living

Aftercare refers to the continuing counseling and support you’ll receive after completing an addiction rehab program. Aftercare programs usually insist that their clients be sober for a certain amount of time before starting aftercare services.

One type of aftercare includes sober living homes. These are sober places where those who have successfully finished rehab can choose to live. People living in these homes share responsibilities among themselves which helps them transition back into a life with full responsibility.

If you or a loved one is struggling with drug addiction please don’t hesitate to reach out for help. Call us today so we can help you find a rehab treatment center that’s right for you. Recovery help is just a call away.