The Addiction Crisis and Recovery Solutions in Thornton, Colorado
Are you considering getting help for your drug addiction in Thornton? Or do you know a relative or close friend who is struggling with substance abuse? Fortunately, Thornton drug rehabs are here to help. We have gathered together all of the information here you’ll need on the treatment process in Thornton and throughout Colorado.
The addiction crisis in Thornton, Colorado has reached record proportions—as has the city’s compassionate dedication to stemming the tide of deaths and ruined lives.
Thornton: A Young and Youthful City
Thornton sits the base of the scenic Rocky Mountains, just 10 miles from downtown Denver in northeastern Colorado. The population is more than 130,000, and there are more people per capita under the age of 18 than the U.S. average. It also has a lower than average number of people over the age of 65. Education levels are exactly on par with the national average; 87% of the city’s inhabitants have graduated from high school. Thornton is relatively affluent, with annual household incomes of around $69,000.
The city is a young one, having begun with a seven million dollar housing project in 1952. In 1953 it was decided to name the new town after Dan Thornton, Colorado’s governor. In 1954 the first 40 families moved in, and in 1956 it was incorporated as a Colorado city.
In 1967 Thornton denizens voted overwhelmingly to approve Home Rule, which meant that the city would have its own constitution—drafted and approved by its own citizens. Such arrangements grant local governments more say in their own affairs. The degree of civic impetus manifested by this move seems to have survived to the present day: few cities exemplify a stronger will to address their own opioid epidemic on their own terms than does Thornton, Colorado.
Thornton is shared between two counties: Adams and Weld, both of which have been designated High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTAs).
Drug Use Trends in the State of Colorado
- Alcohol is by far the most commonly abused substance in the state, with methamphetamine coming in a distant second, particularly in the northeastern part of the state, where Thornton is located.
- The rate of cocaine use in the state of Colorado is among the highest in the country, especially among youth.
- In 2014 treatment was most often sought by users of marijuana, alcohol, methamphetamine, and heroin.
- In 2013 and 2014, when the prevalence of prescription painkillers became rarer on the street, the use of heroin went up at the same time as opioid addicts sought relief from the withdrawal from opioids. Injection is still the preferred method of consumption but there’s also a rise in the number of people smoking it.
- Since marijuana was legalized the number of marijuana-related court cases have dropped significantly.
- Marijuana now seems to be being used more often by children as young as eleven, especially in homes where parents use it.
- Many more drivers are testing positive for THC—marijuana’s mind-altering ingredient.
- The number of opioid deaths is now ten times what it was in
- In 2016, while around 600 Colorado citizens died in car accidents, there were 934 opioid deaths in the state. The number went up to 1016 a year later.
- Another astonishing increase has come in fentanyl deaths (eight times as many) and then in heroin deaths (seven times).
- Overdose deaths have also increased for cocaine, benzodiazepine, methadone, and methamphetamine.
Those involved with drug abuse prevention say that the epidemic is being supplied by cross-border drug smuggling that delivers cheap heroin, plus a market that was built up for it after the availability of the overprescribed opioid painkillers was limited by well-meaning lawmakers.
Fentanyl is a very powerful prescription painkiller which is also being manufactured illegally. In addition to the danger of overdosing after ingesting quantities no larger than a few grains of salt, fentanyl can also be airborne; innocent bystanders can be killed by unknowingly absorbing minute quantities through the skin.
The highly addictive painkiller OxyContin, introduced in the mid-1990s, was overprescribed for over 20 years due to irresponsible doctors and/or fraudulent patients. Nearly 70 percent of heroin users in the Denver area reported that their addictions had begun with prescription painkillers like OxyContin. In contradiction to the stereotypical image of the seedy underworld drug addict, 46 percent said they paid for their drugs with income from legal sources.
Is this where you are?
If you’re in Thornton and you’ve been carried along by the tsunami of conditions that led up to the current drug epidemic, be aware that many have been fighting for you and are ready to continue fighting to bring you to safety and sobriety. Admit that you are powerless and make that first step toward a new life, free from substance slavery.
Medical and Recreational Marijuana
Anyone 21 years of age and older can now legally own an ounce (28 grams) of marijuana or THC in Colorado, thanks to the passing of Amendment 64 in 2012. Some discretion is demanded regarding where the drug is consumed, and smoking publicly is definitely a no-no. Smoking is not allowed on federal properties such as courthouses or in national parks. Many users continue to consume marijuana in public, but many have turned to portable vaporizers to eliminate odor and thus avoid attracting attention. There are also legal limits on how much THC can be in the system while driving (5 nanograms per milliliter of blood).
Colorado residents are also allowed to grow up to six marijuana plants in an enclosed and locked area.
The prevalence of Hepatitis C, transmittable through used syringes, has nearly doubled along with increased heroin use. A number of organizations are funding sterile syringe exchange programs in Colorado, including the Western Colorado Aids Project (WCAP). Thornton residents can access clean needles in nearby Denver.
Police in Thornton are now equipped with Naloxone to administer in cases of drug overdose, thanks to Senate Bill 15-053, which allowed pharmacies to dispense the life-saving drug not only to police but also to family and friends of addicts—as well as to addicts themselves.
Local law enforcement agencies schedule drop-off days to encourage residents to remove unused medications from their homes for safe disposal.
A Healing Map — of Tragic Loss
Thornton software engineer Jeremiah Lindemann responded to the tragic death of his little brother from an Oxycontin overdose by creating a website with an online gallery of 416 people who had died from drug overdoses. The website has become an online community where loved ones can post pictures and stories of those they’ve lost to overdoses.
Who is most likely to become an addict?
Addiction is like any other disease: There are risk factors, and people can be genetically predisposed to succumb to it. Some brains are simply “wired” to be more vulnerable to substance abuse. Those who tend to be thrill-seeking, depressive, impulsive, or anxious may be more likely to be tempted to use drugs. Genetic predisposition plays a role. Life circumstances like trauma, abuse, peer pressure, or easy access from an early age can also push people toward substance abuse.
None of these things dictates that someone will become an addict, but they should prompt parents, teachers, guardians, and community leaders to be a little more vigilant in such cases where the probability of substance abuse is higher.
But the simple fact is that technically anyone can get addicted. Using any addictive substance regularly can cause an addiction, period, and no one is exempt from the danger.
What’s being done?
Residents and community leaders alike in Colorado in general and Thornton in particular have shown a remarkable drive to address the drug epidemic from all angles, avoiding anything that looks like a “quick fix” and devoting all their resources to ending the terrible cycle of addiction and death.
Nowhere is this zeal more clearly seen than in the Adams County Opioid Video, a public service video showing the depths of the problem and what the county is doing about it. Narrated by Adams County Sheriff Mike McIntosh, who exudes empathy with every sentence, the video is a thoughtful and caring exhortation to get behind a multi-directional attack on the drug epidemic.
The six “Pillars of Effective Policy and Practice” include the following:
- Prevention—educating the public
- Treatment—ensuring addicts receive needed care
- Recovery—ensuring that long-term recovery solutions are in place
- Overdose reversal—making Naloxone available to police and medical personnel as well as to those close to addicts and to addicts themselves
- Law enforcement—vigilantly assessing dangers and dealing with them effectively
- Criminal justice reform—changing law enforcement practices from punitive to restorative
McIntosh, who is also the chairman of the Criminal Justice Coordinating Council (CJCC) of Adams County, insists that a response must be mounted on all six pillars in order for it to work. This approach emphasizes the importance of recovery and reducing incarceration of addicts.
The state, county, and city of Thornton have been positively zealous about providing public information and educating the public about the dangers of all abuse of all substances available to inhabitants.
Thornton is served by the 17th Judicial District Adams County Drug Court.
The Drug Court’s mission statement reads as follows: “Adams County Drug Court (ACDC) is committed to an integrated and collaborative effort of treatment, accountability, and rehabilitation of drug dependent offenders which will ensure community safety and create healthy individuals and families while reducing costs and recidivism.”
Considering that drug courts were first used in Miami-Dade County in Florida in 1989 to combat the growing recidivism of drug addicts, the Adams County mission statement is spot on. Incarcerating people for having a disease that compels them to commit petty crimes to feed their drug habits is not only futile, it takes a toll on the public purse.
The new way, offering addicts a chance to get clean and sober and at the same time get the charges against them dropped, hasn’t worked every time, but it has worked often enough to make a significant difference in the lives of addicts and in society in general. Even those who’ve studied drug courts scientifically admit that they work far better than prison and probation in ensuring the safety of both society and the addicts themselves.
The drug court holds offenders accountable for what they’ve done but also offers to help them get where they need to be to keep from reoffending.
The Adams County Drug Court funds almost half of the cost of treatment.
The Program has three 90-day phases:
1). Intensive treatment, substance abuse monitoring, community service, meetings with a probation officer, and regular appearances at Drug Court reviews
2). All of the above plus the establishing of a payment schedule for court costs and a reduction in the number of appearances before court and a probation officer
3). Treatment is terminated, court costs are paid, community service is ended, and meetings are further reduced
When a court orders an addict to treatment instead of prison, we ALL RISE. ~Martin Sheen
Many graduates of drug court credit the program with keeping them out of prison and pointing them in a positive, life-saving direction.
Addiction Recovery in Thornton, Colorado
The recovery or rehabilitation process not only involves physical withdrawal from drugs but also a long process of education, attitude adjustment, and life changes enabling the patient to leave the facility to abuse drugs no more.
Sometimes the hardest struggle is getting patients to admit that they have a problem and then teaching them how to avoid the triggers and temptations that got them started on substance abuse in the first place. It also involves preparing the patient for a productive, independent life minus drug abuse. Sometimes this requires vocational therapy and training as well.
One of the sadder things about addiction is that so many addicts suffer in secret, so ashamed of their condition that they won’t even tell their loved ones about it, let alone look for help.
In cases where the addict is in denial about their addiction in spite of it being clear to everyone else that they’re destroying themselves, it’s a good idea to plan an intervention with the help of an intervention specialist to get the addict to a safe place where their condition can be discussed and they can be persuaded to undergo treatment.
Recovery facilities in Thornton offer inpatient and outpatient treatment, court ordered alcohol treatment for DUI or DWI offenders, assistance for the hearing impaired, inpatient and outpatient counseling in groups and one-on-one, treatment specialized for adolescents, for men, for women, for LGBT persons, and for members of specific religious groups, behavioral modeling, dual diagnosis treatment for co-occurring diagnoses (substance abuse plus a mental health disorder), family systems, feminist, multicultural, biofeedback, art therapy, and a variety of other holistic and other alternative treatments.
The following are just a few things to expect if you enter treatment in Thornton.
During assessment potential participants are examined by a medical doctor to assure that they’re physically and mentally stable enough to enter treatment. There will be an interview to determine which course of treatment would be most helpful to that particular patient.
At this stage the patient is registered, payment arrangements are made, and an orientation process is begun. The patient is told what to bring or not bring, and briefed on the rules of the program.
Detox is the essential first step of treatment itself. It’s the process by which the body is allowed to rid itself of the substance to which it has become addicted. This can be very painful and difficult and so is supervised by medical personnel and takes place in a safe environment. Sometimes medications are administered to ease withdrawal symptoms.
Detox is never a cure, but only the necessary first stage of recovery. No treatment program will succeed without the patient first getting free from the substance that has enslaved them.
Outpatient treatment can be very helpful to maintaining sobriety once the recovery program has been successfully completed. Outpatient facilities in Thornton offer various services to help recovering addicts, including behavioral therapy and DUI education.
Sober living in Thornton, Colorado
By now you the patient has put into practice what they learned in rehab and will have changed those aspects in their lives that had previously put them at risk for relapse. They may already have joined a 12-Step group in the community and have a sponsor in place. Regularly attending meetings of Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous will go far in maintaining sobriety. Peer support is also reported to be a deeply meaningful experience for recovering addicts.
There’s always hope!
The fact that you’re still reading means that you or someone you care about is probably struggling with an addiction. The decision to enter treatment is a hard one to make, but be certain that going through the door of recovery is one of the most meaningful things you will ever do. The rewards of successful recovery are, as millions report, more precious than gold. Call us today and let us help you get there!
I would rather go through life sober, believing I am an alcoholic, than go through life drunk, trying to convince myself that I am not.