Tuesday, February 19, 2019

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Drug Addiction and Treatment in Newport News, Virginia

Settled at the southeastern end of the Virginia Peninsula, Newport News extends over the Hampton Roads Hampton Roads metropolitan area, with a population of 182,965, making it the fifth-most populous city in the state. 

Throughout the East End of the city’s limits, crime rates have surged in homicide, robbery, auto theft, burglary, and drug dealing. Regarding drug prevalence, crack cocaine and Cannabis has spread across the East End. Reporter, Catherine Rogers, of Wavy News said that in 2014, Newport News “spent more than $2 million to create a gang initiative that it hopes will curve the crime,” however, drug and crime problems still persists  today. 

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

Binge drinking has significantly increased in the Fort Eustis Military Reserve area; for residents 18 years of age or older, this zone had a 24.4 to 31.7 rate in 2014. Comparatively, nearby communities averaged a 14.8 to 16.5 rate (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). Likewise, although illicit opioid use has spread all over Virginia, alcohol remains the state’s most abused substance. According to the Treatment Center Organization, binge drinking (consuming more then five drinks on one occasion) rates averaged around 21.95 percent in Virginia in 2015. These same statistics revealed that 6.49 percent of Virginians suffered from alcoholism in 2015, and “the largest demographic group with alcohol dependency were adults ages 18 to 25”; notably, the percentage of children and adolescents addicted to alcohol has gradually increased. Then, similar to many other US states, the most popular illicit drugs in Virginia includes marijuana and opioids.

Heroin and Opioid Painkiller-Related Deaths

Riverside Regional Medical Center, a Newport News hospital, experienced “an increase of more than 47 percent in emergency room visits related to opioid use,” jumping from 16 cases in 2015, to 26 in 2016 (Michele Canty, the Daily Press). Notably, residents ages 25 to 44 had the sharpest increase in hospitalization and emergency room treatment for opioids, and currently, women are just as likely as men to receive medical-care for inpatient treatment for drug-related problems. Author Michele Canty, reports that, “At least 1,420 people died in Virginia [in 2016] from drug overdoses, the fourth year that drugs have outpaced motor vehicle accidents and gun-related incidents as the leading cause of unnatural death” (the Daily PDress). Virginia Governor, Terry McAuliffe, has implemented a test force to improve the drug problem, and legislators have attempted to enact laws that would encourage addicts to seek help, rather than prosecution. However, even with these efforts, drug and alcohol problems in the state still prevails.

DUIs in Newport News, Virginia

Recently, citations of drunk driving in Newport News has decreased; police Officer Jason Moyer, contributes this to the Newport News Police Department and “the Virginia DMV, which oversees the $55,200 grant” (Kate Mishkin, the Daily Press). During funded DUI patrols, between October 2016 and September 2017, officers cited 567 people for speeding and caught 56 reckless drivers. Moyer also said that he’s done around 20 six-hour DUI patrols in the last two years, and has only cited five drink drivers. Additionally, Mishkin notes that carpool services life Uber and Lyft might add to the decline in drunk driving on weekends—Virginia police officers have noticed a rise in service cars on the streets. Still, some people drive drunk regardless of such options, and so the DMV grant is still consistently in place.

Drug and Alcohol Recovery for VA Residents

Fortunately, there’s now more rehab medical centers and scientific approaches to assist in drug and alcohol recovery. First though, it’s important to understand the causes and signs of alcohol and/or opioid abuse.

Leading Causes for Alcoholism (Mayo Clinic):

  • Stressful Environments—for example, certain occupations lead to excessive drinking due to high stress, such as doctors and nurses.
  • Drinking At a Young Age—habit forms and tolerance goes up.
  • Mental Health Problems—An anxious or depressed individual may turn to alcohol to relieve painful feelings.
  • Family History—Genetics and environment may greatly influence certain individuals.
  • Taking Alcohol with Medicine—Various prescriptions can increase the toxic effect of alcohol, thus leading the person to rely on that combination.

Leading Causes for Opioid Addiction:

Currently, researchers still do not know the exact reason why one person develops a drug addiction while another does not. However, the main belief is that many factors play a role in forming substance addiction, such as:

  • Genetics—There’s a stronger possibility of behaving in destructive ways, if a parent or even a close relative does so.
  • Biological—For example, some individuals lack serotonin, and may self-medicate to feel pleasure.
  • Environmental—Chaos and stress may lead to opioid and drug abuse to reduce anxiety. Also, if the individual surrounds themselves with addicts, they’ll likely develop a habit.
  • Psychological—Mental illness greatly increases the chances of developing drug addiction, particularly for those with undiagnosed disorders; its used again to self-medicate.

Understanding Process Addiction Vs Substance Addiction

Process Addiction differs from pure substance addiction in that it refers to any repetitive, frequent and destructive behavior (the disordered “process”). However, its common to have both of these addictions happening simultaneously. American Addiction Centers maintains that, “When substance abuse and process addictions occur together in the same person, comprehensive treatment that addresses both conditions is necessary”. Fortunately, those working in recovery rehab centers will provide a clear and thorough diagnosis, and create a personalized plan to address both of these issues (discussed in depth below).

Symptoms May Overlap:

Tolerance—feeling the need to increase the frequency or severity of destructive behavior.

Withdrawal Symptoms—Beyond physical symptoms, the individual may experience severe anxiety if they cannot fulfill their compulsion.

Cannot Stop Behavior—Even if they sincerely want to stop their addiction, they aren’t able to.

Primary Focus—Most of their time is centered-around the addiction (planning, perceiving, attending certain events, etc)

How Do I Recover from Alcohol and Drug Addiction?

  1. Detox

In order to begin a recovery program, the patient must detox— this means, ridding of all toxins in the body’s system by staying clean for at least five to ten days. Usually, rehab programs reject those who aren’t fully detoxed. However, many centers have medically supervised detox programs for those whom struggle to abstain from substance and alcohol-consumption. Detoxing without further therapy, though, will inevitably lead to relapse. Therefore, detoxing is just the first initial step in a series of phases for full recovery.

  1. Assessment

For rehabs dealing with any major addiction—heroin, cocaine, alcohol, other opiates, etc—assessments must take place before letting in a patient. Assessments typically come in the form of questionaries, self-evaluations, and/or a physical exam. By answering questions and recording health-data, the assessor can more adequately determine whether an addiction is fully present, to what extent, whether or not it pairs with co-occurring condition(s), and how to treat the specific, individual. Usually doctors, nurses, social workers, and therapists carry out these assessments. Although assessment strategies sometimes differ from rehab to rehab, all locations carry out similar investigations.

  1. Intake

During the intake process, the patient will usually meet individually, with a counselor or therapist, a doctor, and/or a psychologist. Establishing these relationships with the staff helps them communicate with each other to collaboratively develop a methodical treatment plan. Typically, documented notes describing medical and mental health history, will be reviewed from the session(s), and specialized screenings and physical exams might also take place. Additionally, the patient will be asked about major events or certain instances that might have led to the eventual addiction. Important to note—the intake process usually involves some form of payment and/or a financial plan, and fortunately, many facilities offer a number of payment and insurance options.

  1. Inpatient Treatment

Residential treatment centers (RTC), are highly structured, and evidence-based programs that typically follow the 12-step model of recovery (Alcoholics Anonymous). Additionally, inpatient rehabs offer emotional process groups—e.g. CBT (for obsessive thoughts and compulsions), DBT (for stabilizing moods), and work-return planning, etc. RTC works especially well for individuals who have recently received hospital-care, or who need more structure, and stability than outpatient care. Average length of stay is typically three to six months, and is usually all residential-based (no returning home each night).

  1. Outpatient Treatment

Partial hospitalization drug rehab programs (PHP), and intensive outpatient programs for substance abuse (IOP), differ from RTC in that patients go home in the evenings. PHP, also referred to as “day rehab,” provides the patient with the intensity of RTC, but for six hours a day, five days a week. Using many of the same tools and resources, PHP can be just as effective; individuals receive group-therapy, counseling, medical assessment, etc. Due to cost-reduction and flexibility, many drug and alcohol rehab centers now offer this style of treatment.

Then, intensive outpatient programs for substance abuse (IOP), offers the same services, but goes for three hours a day, three days a week. Typically, this option suits those who’ve completed an inpatient program, like RTC, or for individuals that require an outpatient setting (due to professional or personal reasons). Additionally, IOP focuses on group therapy, while using one-on-one counseling less often. Length of attendance differs from person to person, depending on their emotional and psychological progress, and well-being.

  1. Aftercare

Immediate, and continuous follow-up treatment for substance abuse, should occur after the completion of an initial rehab program. Addiction aftercare programs aim to encourage recovery maintenance, and helps develop ways to prevent relapse, to achieve a fulfilled life with healthy relationships and a sense of purpose. Longstanding substance abuse can de-normalize cognitive-function and altar parts of the brain long after rehab, therefore continuing treatment is extremely important. Beyond physical impact, several long-term psychological changes may affect thoughts, feelings, and behaviors (as another consequence to prior intoxication). Therefore, its essential that aftercare proceeds.

Consider a Sober Living Home

Another idea to consider is living in a sober living home— a group home for addicts, that allows one to come and go as they please, as long as they follow curfew-rules and complete standard chores. Before moving in, the recovering-addict should find a 12-step sponsor (a family member, a friend, or an acquaintance, that will support, listen, and hold you accountable). Once, enlisted, residents in these homes must remain sober, and be willing to support others. Thus, this environment encourages sobriety and helps addicts adjust to a non-substance/non-alcoholic life. Many sober living homes include volunteer opportunities and therapeutic meetings, such as feeding the homeless at soup-kitchens, as well as, Alcoholic-Anonymous (12-Step) gatherings, and job-search planning. 

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