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Drugs and Treatment Richardson, Texas

Richardson is a small to medium sized city in Texas that spans across Collin and Dallas counties. Home to universities, hospitals, and more than 5,000 business, the community thrives economically and continues to grow and develop its community service offerings. One example is in regards to drug and alcohol rehabilitation centers, as some substance abuse problems continue to plague the community. The purpose of this article is to provide an overview of drug and alcohol issues impacting Richardson. Demographic characteristics of the city are discussed first, followed substance abuse problems specifically impacting the Richardson community. Addiction and treatment information is then considered, including rehabilitation opportunities and the process to recovery. Richardson is a small to medium sized city in Texas that spans across Collin and Dallas counties. Home to universities, hospitals, and more than 5,000 business, the community thrives economically and continues to grow and develop its community service offerings. One example is in regards to drug and alcohol rehabilitation centers, as some substance abuse problems continue to plague the community. The purpose of this article is to provide an overview of drug and alcohol issues impacting Richardson. Demographic characteristics of the city are discussed first, followed substance abuse problems specifically impacting the Richardson community. Addiction and treatment information is then considered, including rehabilitation opportunities and the process to recovery.

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

City Overview

Richardson is a relatively affluent community located on the outskirts of the large Dallas metropolitan area, and home to many wealthier commuters who work in Dallas. The population is just over 108,000 according to the most recent census, most of who are middle or upper class in terms of socioeconomic status. The median income for males and females is about $60,000 and $50,000, respectively. Just six percent of families and 11 percent of individuals live below the federal poverty line of $15,000 annually. Under 30 percent of residents are between the ages of 25 and 44, which is the age group most frequently associated with drug use and drug related crimes. The city is predominantly white (~67 percent), with the remainder primarily being Hispanic (18 percent) Asian (16 percent), African American (nine percent). Smaller populations of Native Americans, Pacific Islanders, and unidentified racial groups also dwell within the city limits. The city is home to many of the nation’s largest telecommunications companies, while several large insurance providers also have regional offices in Richardson.

Crime Rates and Drug Overdose

The demographic characteristics of Richardson are not commonly associated with high rates of crime or substance abuse, although the city does have some problems with certain crimes and drug distribution and sale. Interestingly, Richardson is not one of the safer communities in the nation and has a total crime rate that is higher than nearly 70 percent of all cities in the United States. The chances of being a victim of a crime in Richardson is about one in 41, with the majority of crimes being related to property damage or theft. The total crime rate is 24.31 per 1,000 residents, though just 1.42 are related to violent crimes. The city has seen a rise in drug overdoses in recent years, a problem that has led community leaders to begin proactive efforts to combat drug distribution and access, while also increasing public outreach for drug and alcohol rehabilitation.

Substances of Choice

Like many communities, Richardson has experienced a growing problem with heroin usage and overdose in recent years, with the majority of these according in individuals under the age of 25. The recent death of a 17 year old due to a heroin overdose sparked community leaders in Richardson and surrounding areas to increase law enforcement to help combat the burgeoning drug trafficking network in the Dallas metropolitan area. Dallas was recently designated as a high intensity drug trafficking area due to the rise in heroin distribution, leading the United States senate to allocate nearly $30 million to provide resources to anti-drug enforcement agencies in the area alone. The reasons heroin usage has become a significant problem in Richardson are multifaceted. Despite being an affluent community, its close proximity to Dallas make Richardson exposed to problems that typically accompany large urban regions, such as drug trafficking and distribution. Furthermore, the proximity to Mexico and the ease with which heroin crosses the border into Texas make Richardson and nearby communities a hub for numerous high profile drug cartels and trafficking networks. However, the causes of heroin addition frequently originate within national borders, as individuals who begin taking prescription opiate based painkillers often turn to street-based heroin because of its high availability and lower cost. One doctor in Texas was recently suspended due to seven drug-related deaths following what was determined to be excessive prescriptions of opiate based painkillers.

Signs, Symptoms, and Risk Factors

Detecting heroin addiction can be challenging, even for close friend and family members who know the user well. However, there are some signs and symptoms, as well as risk factors, that should be understood by any resident of Richardson due to the growing problem with heroin addictions. Heroin has an extremely high addiction potential and can almost instantly produce physical dependency. First, signs of heroin usage can include rosy colored or blushed skin, pupil dilation or contraction, a state of extreme drowsiness or relaxation, nasal congestion, and itching. Following a heroin high, withdrawal symptoms can be extremely psychologically and physically painful, leading many to continue to use. Once dependence occurs, users experience as much as a 20-fold increase in the risk of death. 

Signs of a heroin overdose include flushed lips, psychological confusion, rapid and shallow breathing, small pupils, muscle spasms, and a weak pulse. A heroin overdose can also induce a coma. Additionally, many behavioral patterns can signal heroin usage, including sudden changes in behavior, possession of drug paraphernalia, financial struggles, legal challenges, track marks, and secretiveness. Risk factors for heroin use are diverse and varied, with both wealthy and impoverished individuals demonstrating almost equal rates of use and addiction. A family history of drug and alcohol abuse is one strong predictor of heroin usage. Additionally, extreme environmental stress and community crime are also predictors of substance abuse.

Addiction and Treatment Information

There are many treatment options for individuals facing drug and alcohol abuse problems in Richardson, including treatment centers specifically tailored to combating heroin addiction. Heroin addiction almost always involves inpatient care and detoxification, and Richardson’s multiple universities, hospitals, and proximity to Dallas provide residents with many modern treatment facilities. When signs and symptoms of heroin addiction like those described above are recognized by a close friend or family member, action should be taken immediately due to the high rate of overdose and risk of death associated with heroin usage. When seeking treatment for heroin addiction or any other substance, rehabilitation is a sequential process that likely includes assessment, pre-intake, detoxification, inpatient treatment, outpatient treatment, aftercare, and sober living. Each of these stages is discussed in more detail below, including what potential clients can expect during the path to recovery.

Assessment

The first stage in the path to recovery from a heroin addiction is assessment, which essentially serves to determine if a psychological and physical dependency is present. The assessment is carried out by a physician or addictions specialist, and involves a comprehensive screening and personal history of drug and alcohol usage. The assessment process can involve an interview, completion of questionnaires, and physical examination to determine of co-occurring conditions are present. This process is also used to develop a treatment plan and to make an appropriate referral to a drug rehabilitation center based on the nature and magnitude of the problem encountered by the client.

Pre-Intake

Once a referral has been made to a drug rehabilitation facility based on the nature of the problem and presence of co-occurring conditions, a pre-intake will be held at that respective facility. The pre-intake is carried out by a specialist employed by that particular facility and involves the collection of basic information that will be used to inform the more elaborate intake process. The pre-intake process is non-judgmental and inclusive in nature, with a specialist seeking to identify any pertinent or overlying issues that must be considered in the full recovery process. This can include mental health, substance abuse  behaviors, recent usage, and any other circumstances that are specific to the client and may help guide the rehabilitation plan.

Intake

Following the pre-intake, the more thorough intake is held, which may include a complete physical examination, screening of mental and physical health history, and familial history of drug and alcohol abuse. A one-on-one interview is also an important aspect of the intake process because it allows the specialist to gain qualitative insight into the nature and scope of the drug addiction and to recommend specific steps that will be necessary for psychological and physical recovery. It is essential during the intake process that the client be honest and authentic in responding to all questions in order to recommend the most appropriate treatment plan. The intake process is private and confidential by law.

Detox

Detoxification is necessary in most cases of heroin addiction. This process typically involves the regulated administration of methadone while the client progresses through withdrawal symptoms. Heroin withdrawal can be particularly psychologically and physically devastating, and close supervision is needed to prevent relapse and self-harming behaviors. Residential care is necessary during the detoxification process to allow for continue monitoring of the effects of methadone and client symptoms. Following detoxification, either inpatient or outpatient care takes place.

What is withdrawal? How long does it last?

Inpatient Treatment (RTC, PHP, IOP)

Inpatient treatment is typically required in the case of heroin addiction and especially when detoxification is involved. Residential treatment centers are equipped with the psychological, physical, and social resources patients need to begin full recovery from heroin addiction. Partial hospitalization is necessary in the case of detoxification and allows for careful monitoring by a medical health professional during the extremely difficult early stages of rehabilitation. Intensive outpatient care may then be a requisite depending on client needs in order to ensure continued relapse prevention and to monitor psychological health during this time. Inpatient care is always more intensive than outpatient care, and is structured to treat the most serious addictions problems, including heroin. Typically, inpatient care lasts from one to six months.

Outpatient Treatment

Outpatient treatment is an essential component to full recovery, regardless of whether or not inpatient care and detoxification was first needed. Outpatient care allows for continued and structured monitoring of client symptoms while still allowing for regular work or school hours to be maintained. Additionally, a strong emphasis is placed on psychological skill building and social support during the outpatient treatment process to begin to promote independent functioning without the presence of the drug of choice. Furthermore, long-term relapse prevention and replacing drug activity with healthier alternatives is a component of outpatient care. Clients may also meet in groups and begin to develop accountability for other individuals recovering from addictions during this stage of recovery.

Should I choose inpatient or outpatient?

Aftercare

Aftercare can take place for several years following outpatient treatment and is often a critical component of achieving long-term sobriety. This process may involve a combination of individual and group counselling sessions to promote psychological health, offer social support, and to continue to help clients remain free from substance abuse, despite the potential continued presence of urges to use. Additionally, clients at this stage often have the psychological skills, tools, and personal expertise needed to help guide others through the recovery process and serve as a source of social support. Clients may sponsor others during their recovery process while continuing to engage in their own rehabilitation.

What happens after discharge?

Sober Living

Sober living is the ultimate goal of rehabilitation from heroin addiction, which includes long-term relapse prevention, the absence of self-harming, and a sense of fulfilment in the absence of heroin. Instead of simply removing heroin from one’s life during this stage, sober living emphasizes replacing drug use with healthier and more productive behaviors like exercise, spiritual activity, education, and skill development. Sober living is a lifetime endeavor that requires extensive psychological strength, as well as the support from many others.

Conclusion

The purpose of this article was to discuss substance abuse and rehabilitation options in the community of Richardson, Texas. An overview of city demographic characteristics was provided first, followed by specific drug and alcohol problems faced by the city. Treatment and rehabilitation options were then considered, including what clients can expect at each stage in the path to recovery. It is clear that, despite being an affluent community with a thriving economy, Richardson continues to struggle with high rates of crime and drug abuse. Heroin represents the most prominent threat currently, which is largely due to many drug trafficking rings in the state of Texas and growing numbers of addictions resulting from opiate based prescription painkillers. However, Richardson also boasts many advanced treatment and recovery options to help clients achieve sober lifestyles.

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