Addictions in High Point, North Carolina
High Point, North Carolina is a medium-sized city located primarily in Guilford County. Situated to the west of Raleigh and northeast of Charlotte, the city is a popular residential choice for many seeking a quieter lifestyle but still needing access to these larger urban regions. Although not historically associated with high rates of substance abuse or related crimes, High Point has seen rates of overdoses increase in recent years. As a result, rehabilitation has become a critical component of community health. This article offers an overview of substance abuse issues facing High Point, including drug and alcohol usage, crime rates, and risk factors. Rehabilitation is then discussed, including a description of what residents may experience when entering a drug and/or alcohol treatment facility.
High Point has a population of just over 108,000, making it the ninth-largest in the state of North Carolina. Though small in comparison to larger urban regions, its close proximity to Raleigh and Charlotte expose High Point to many big-city problems like drug trafficking and distribution. The city is quite ethnically diverse, with about 55 percent of citizens being White and more than 34 percent being African American. About seven percent of High Point residents are of Hispanic descent, and nearly five percent are of Asian descent. Remaining residents are primarily Native American, Pacific Islander, or identify as multiracial. The largest portion of residents are aged between 25 and 44. Evidence suggests that this age group is associated with the highest rates of drug usage and distribution activities, offering one potential demographic contributor to substance abuse issues encountered in the city. High Point is predominantly a middle class city, with the medina income being about $40,000 annually. The per capita income is much lower based on the younger population, at about $210,000. About one in 10 families and 13 percent of all residents live below the federal poverty line. Evidence suggests that there is a significant inverse correlation between income and drug-related crimes, offering another potential contribution to drug usage rates in the city.
Drug and Alcohol Usage and Substances of Choice
High Point is a community that has not typically experienced high rages of drug or alcohol abuse, nor has it encountered high rates of associated crimes. Although the entirety of Guildford County does not suffer from higher than average rates of drug or alcohol use, there is a high rate of usage amongst youth. One estimate suggests that about 17 percent of all high school students in Guilford county have consumed an illicit substance, with marijuana being the most frequently mentioned drug of choice. Additionally, alcohol misuse is quite common amongst youth in Guilford County. Precision drug misuse has become increasingly prevalent amongst youth populations as well. The community, like many others throughout the United States, has experienced a surge in opiate addictions and overdose in recent years. According to the High Point Police Department, heroin overdoses have skyrocketed recently, which has been attributed to addictions formed through prescription painkillers. Those who seek treatment for pain and become addicted to opiate-based prescription drugs often turn to heroin because of its high access and lower cost. Unfortunately, the use of unregulated substances from the street, like heroin, exposes community members to many risks, including overdose. Additionally, the sale and distribution of illicit substances is typically associated with related crimes like theft and violence.
High Point has a higher rate of property crimes than 83 percent of communities in North Carolina. Furthermore, High Point is estimated to be safer than just nine percent of all United States cities based on the high amount of property crime that occurs. Fortunately, violent crime is less common. However, these property crimes are frequently related to drug use. The total crime rate for 1,000 residents in High Point is 42.42, with 35.8 being due to property crimes. As people turn to street heroin to meet their opiate addiction needs, petty crimes and theft become increasingly common. Unfortunately, violent crimes like assault frequently follow these general trends in increased total crime rates. There is about a one in 150 chance of being the victim of a crime in High Point, while this rate is just one in 269 in the remainder of North Carolina. The rate of violent crime in High Point is nearly twice that of the remainder of the United States.
Risk Factors, Causes, and Signs of Drug Abuse and Addiction
Understanding risk factors for drug and alcohol misuse is important for preventing their occurrence and also recognizing if friends or loved ones require help. Risk factors specific to High Point include the proximity to large urban regions where crime rates are high, as well as the high access to these locations where drugs can easily be trafficked and distributed throughout the community. Drug and alcohol abuse is caused by a range of individual and environmental factors. Genetics play an important role in determining who is likely to be come dependent on a particular substance such as alcohol, with rates of addiction increasing markedly when there is a family history of drug or alcohol abuse. Additionally, stress, exposure to substances, and socioeconomic status are each key contributors to the likelihood for substance abuse to occur.
The process of addiction generally occurs through an initial experimentation and progresses to full-blown addiction when usage continues. As the chemical produces a pleasure response in the brain once consumed, individuals become conditioned to continue to use in order to achieve this sensation. Over time, the brain loses its ability to produce affect-regulating chemicals on its own and dependence on the substance of choice continues to increase until addiction occurs.
Recognizing signs of usage is critical in helping friends and loved ones seek help. These signs can include problems at work or school, relationship difficulties, sudden financial problems or difficult managing money, extreme emotions or emotional withdrawal, and depression. In addition, individual symptoms of drug and alcohol abuse vary but can include blood shot eyes, pale or yellow skin, sudden moor or behavioral chances, and more. Drug and alcohol addiction is often signaled by a change in behavior that only those close to the user can detect. Therefore, remaining proactive and encouraging family members and friends to seek help when such signals are detected is critical in promoting rehabilitation and recovery.
Although High Point has experienced a rise in usage and overdoses associated with some substances, there are also many treatment and recovery options for residents of all socioeconomic backgrounds. The close proximity to Raleigh and Charlotte, as well as the numerous universities and medical facilities in the area, make High Point equipped with man high-quality treatment facilities. These include both inpatient and outpatient facilities, as well as community integration services to promote sober living. Regardless of the treatment facility that is chosen or which most applies to a particular individual, each undergoes a relatively similar process of recovery, including assessment, pre-intake, intake, detox, inpatient and/or outpatient treatment, aftercare, and sober living. Each of these components of rehabilitation is discussed in more detail below.
When first beginning the process of recovery, the first step clients can expect is assessment. This often begins with a drug and alcohol screening and a determination of contributions to the substance abuse issue. An assessment is usually guided by a combination of quantitative and qualitative measurements of the nature and scope of the client’s drug and alcohol usage, which can be used to create a formal diagnosis and to guide subsequent stages of recovery. The assessment is performed by a licensed medical professional who can make an appropriate referral for inpatient or outpatient care based on the problems encountered.
Once a referral to a relevant treatment facility or professional has been made, the client can then expect to undergo a pre-intake and intake. The pre-intake is designed to provide preliminary information to the health professional who will be performing the more detailed intake, and its purpose is to make the latter ore goal-oriented and effective. Basic information about health, current affective state and recent usage history will be documented during the pre-intake process at the facility of choice.
Information gained from the pre-intake will be reviewed by the health professional who will be performing the intake and will be used to create a detailed plan for recovery. This may include detoxification, inpatient and/or outpatient care, aftercare, and sober living. Additionally, a model for recovery, such as cognitive behavioral therapy, may be recommended during the intake process depending on each client’s specific psychological, physical, and social needs.
Detoxification may be an important component of many clients’ recovery plans, particularly in the case of heroin or opiate addiction. High Point has multiple detoxification clinics, which allow for full supervision and regulated administration of an alternative substance while the client manages withdrawal symptoms and allows for the body to eliminate toxins from the metabolic system. This process can be difficult psychologically and physically, and close supervision is needed to provide immediate support and coping options.
Inpatient Treatment (RTC, PHP, IOP)
Either following detoxification of immediately after intake, inpatient treatment may be provided based on a client’s particular treatment needs. Inpatient treatment allows for continued supervision and support as clients navigate the difficult early stages of recovery. In addition to physical recovery, inpatient care is designed to provide a supportive and substance-free environment for clients that will provide them with the foundational skills needed to manage a sober life and to prevent relapse. Inpatient care comes in three variations, including residential treatment centers, partial hospitalization, and intensive outpatient care. Residential treatment centers require that clients live within the centers for an extended period of time to enable close supervision, while partial hospitalization accomplishes the same objective but for a shorter period of time. Intensive outpatient care allows clients to continue with independent daily living but require frequent visits to a care facility to monitor symptoms and likelihood for relapse.
Outpatient treatment is a critical component of any rehabilitation program, regardless of whether or not detoxification or inpatient care were needed. Outpatient care places an emphasis on individual skill development to manage and prevent contributors to relapse, such as stress or exposure to other users. A combination of individual and group counselling sessions are generally recommended as part of a comprehensive outpatient care program and clients often begin to take on accountability for other recoverees during this stage.
Aftercare is an extended variation of outpatient treatment and provides a continuation of the individual and group sessions as clients independently proceed with daily living and community integration. Aftercare allows for continued social support and coping in order to promote long-term relapse prevention. Additionally, clients may take leadership roles in the recovery process for others during this stage, sharing personal stories of rehabilitation and serving as a source of support for others who are navigating earlier stages of recovery.
Sober living is the ultimate goal of any drug and/or alcohol treatment program. This philosophy emphasizes living free of substance usage, despite the possibility that urges will continue and opportunities to engage in substance use will still exist. Instead of simply removing the substance use behaviors from clients’ lives during this stage, sober living advocates replacing substance use with healthier and more productive activities. Sober living is a lifelong pursuit and requires personal effort and the support of many others in order to prevent relapse.
The purpose of this article was to discuss substance abuse issues specifically affecting the city of High Point, North Carolina. Consideration was first given to drug and alcohol abuse rates and risk factors within the community. Rehabilitation was then discussed, including the typical process associated with treatment and what residents may encounter when enrolling in a treatment program. While High Point does not traditionally demonstrate high rates of drug and alcohol abuse, there has been a marked increase in the rates of heroin usage and overdose in recent years. As a result, rehabilitation has become a critical component of community health. High Point offers access to many state-of-the-art drug and alcohol treatment facilities and it is clear that the city has taken a proactive approach to providing these services to community members to help combat a potentially growing problem with opiate addiction.