Hinesville, Georgia-Facing A Drug Problem?
Hinesville, Georgia is home to 33,378 people and is located in Liberty County. Surrounding areas include Fort Stewart, Gumbranch, Allenhurst, Midway and Savannah, which is only a 40-mile drive from the military town. Military history is abundant in Hinesville, a stop in at the Fort Stewart Museum proves that. Another great place to visit is the Old Liberty County Jail, built in 1892. Hinesville’s motto “Home for a day or a lifetime” rings true while touring its attractions and stopping by many fresh produce stands along the way. After all, Hinesville is planted in the southeast part of Georgia which is known as the Peach State.
Georgia as a whole has many beautiful touring attractions and its landscape is pleasing to the eye but an issue that remains a struggle for the state is substance and alcohol abuse. Georgia ranks among 10 other states with the most opioid OD deaths. In 2015 alone, the state saw 549 opioid drug overdoses. The state is also a breeding ground for new drugs such as one referred to as “Gray Death”. Prescriptions drugs account for a large portion of drug use in Hinesville (642 recorded users) followed by Heroin (424 recorded users) and cocaine (240 recorded users). Marijuana and alcohol are also used widely in the city which has led to an increase in drug usage. Much of the Hinesville substance abuse issue stems from an unemployment rate of 5.60 percent and a crime rate that is higher than 76 percent of the rest of Georgia. Alternatively, Georgia has a lower alcohol binge drinking rate (15.2 percent) than the national average of 18.3 percent.
The best way for drug users to take control of their own lives is through rehabilitation. There are some great centers in Hinesville such as these three:
Frasier Counseling Center- a non-profit, faith-based counseling center that offers an array of different types of behavioral health services for individuals and/or families.
Recovery Place- a health treatment center that offers a 28-day residential program, a detoxification program and a treatment program that can help the entire family.
Darsey, Black and Associates- a low-cost treatment center offers in-home intensive counseling and programs that treat anxiety, depression and marriage trouble which all have been known to lead to substance abuse.
When considering rehabilitation, it is important to know all the steps that are involved.
Assessment or Pre-Intake
First and foremost, there is an assessment. An assessment is done to find out if there is an addiction present or not, while also determining the level of the addiction and if there are any co-occurring disorders such as PTSD, OCD, etc. Assessments, given by trained professionals are done privately and consist of physical exams, questionnaires and even a self-assessment. While being assessed, seeing and talking to multiple professionals will be part of the process.
- Psychological Testing
- Psychiatric Evaluation
- Medical Evaluation
- Cognitive Testing/Retraining
- Brain Wellness
- Toxicology Testing
- Pharmacogenetics Testing
While Assessment, also known as pre-intake is the first and most basic step to kick off the rehabilitation train, intake is the next step. This stage determines whether or not the rehabilitation center is right for a potential patient and vice versa. This is the perfect time for questions to be asked from both parties. This is also a part of the rehabilitation process when more tests might occur such as screenings or diagnostic tests and it is possible for a financial arrangement for treatment to be setup during this time. Assessment takes care of the basics of an interview, per say. Intake covers a broader area that is needed for treatment.
Going through detox means that a person is now a patient or being cared for by a rehabilitation center. This is a drug cleansing period for the body. It is also a scary process since withdrawal can make a person feel horrible and in many cases, cause physical pain to the body. Drugs allow the brain to feel good, addiction occurs because the brain feels good so when a person starts going through detox, they want drugs the most to help the brain to get what it has relied on for so long. Withdrawal symptoms are different for everyone and they are based on different factors such as family history, the number of drugs ingested, length of addiction, type of drugs used, and mental health status. There is no way of knowing how a person is going to react until they are placed in those shoes. Depending on how severe the symptoms become, a doctor will often prescribe some medication to ease the discomfort and pain until the detox process has ran its course.
The detox process is carried out under doctor’s supervision within a trusted addiction treatment facility. There are several different types of approaches to detox: 24-hour supervision, intensive monitoring, and medication assisted detox. Detox is a just another section on a long train to recovery. There is much more to the recovery process.
This part of the rehabilitation process is lengthy but extremely important. There are three levels to inpatient treatment.
Intensive Outpatient Programs (IOP)
Intensive Outpatient Programs begin when a patient is serious about getting help and is medically stable. It usually involves many afternoon/evening meetings and several hourly meetings during the day, at least three times a week. It also includes group meetings, individual/family therapy and nutritional counseling. There is also an intensive outpatient programs that has groups for family members and is great for helping to raise awareness.
Partial Hospitalization Programs (PHP)
Partial Hospitalization Programs, also called Day Treatment usually meets 5-7 days per week for a minimum of 6 hours a day. This treatment allows for patients to practice what they have learned in the evenings and on the weekends. Just like IOP, PHP requires that patients have a certain degree of motivation to get healthier while also maintaining the ability to reach out and get help. PHP is not for a patient that is not medically stable.
Residential Treatment Centers (RTC)
Unlike the other two inpatient treatments, Residential Treatments Centers have around the clock supervision and support for a patient. RTC is a highly structured inpatient care that involves intensive individual, group and family therapy. It also gives necessary guidelines and resources for life after treatment. After some time in RTC, patients may be able to go out to a restaurant, receive a pass to see family or an outing to the store. This is allowed so that patients can test out the skills they have learned. Again, this inpatient training is not allowed if the patient is medically unstable or has proven that they cannot successfully manage their behavior without being supervised.
Inpatient treatment requires that the patient remain at the facility either all the time (RTC), for at least 6 hours a day (PHP) or attend group meetings (IOP). Outpatient treatment works differently because the treatment allows for people to stay in the comfort of their home while working through addiction. Outpatient treatment works a couple of different ways: set schedules or appointment-based.
Set schedules are for patients who are expected to appear in groups with other people at particular times that cannot be changed.
Appointment-based are for patients that need varying group meetings so that they can work or acquire childcare.
One major benefit for outpatient treatment is convenience. Inpatient treatment can cause a major shake-up. Loss of job, loss of residence, loss of friends and an abandonment of responsibilities altogether. With outpatient treatment as an option, these things are less likely to occur which can make for an easier comeback once a patient has won their battle over addiction. Another benefit is that outpatient treatment is usually less expensive as it uses a sliding-scale fee system to help people to afford it. Since there are no room and board fees, costs are cut drastically.
These benefits do not take away from the recovery process at all. Trained professionals are ready to assist as well as group and individual therapy meetings.
Once the assessment, the detox and the inpatient/outpatient treatment has been done, the aftercare part of recovery begins. This is the part that helps patients to stay drug free so that they do not relapse and go right back into the facility. The aftercare process means exactly what it says, it is the process of caring for oneself after treatment. The foundation has been laid down due to inpatient or outpatient care, now is the time to find out how sturdy it is. This means using all those skills that were taught in therapy such as preventing relapse, relationship skills, job skills and attending group meetings. There are many aftercare programs that can help with childcare, job assistance, housing and money management. Many outpatient treatment programs are also available as well. In fact, many patients who leave inpatient treatment are recommended for outpatient treatment for five days a week. A stair stepping method takes place from there, allowing the required five days to drop to three and then two. There are many places that offer help through a 12-step program as well.
Sober Living Houses
Recovery is a life-long process. Any recovering addict out there will tell you that. It is a process that can be incorporated into daily life just as anything else is, if given the tools and techniques to do so. That is what rehabilitation is all about. Some patients leave inpatient care and find themselves back on track while others need a little bit more support. There is absolutely no shame in that. We all work differently and that is why sober living houses is an option. Sober living houses are living spaces for those who want to remain free of drugs and alcohol but are finding it much harder than they thought. These are safe and supportive spaces for recovering addicts to stay during the first few months of their sobriety. It is not required, but many people do find it easier. Sober living houses come fully equipped with house rules and a contract must be signed, stating that rules will be obeyed before moving in. These rules will change from house to house but here are some standard rules that recovering addicts adhere to:
- No Drugs
- No Alcohol
- No Cigarettes (in house)
- No stealing from the house
- No vandalizing house property
- No violent behavior
- No self-directed recovery program activities
- No sexual contact with other residents of the house
- Program fees musts be paid on time
Most houses have a zero-tolerance policy in place and if rules are broken, residents can be evicted from the house. However, there are houses where rule-breaking is dealt with more leniently and community service or a 12-step program every 90 day of relapse is required to maintain residential status at the house. However, all sober living houses have a zero-tolerance for sexual misconduct. There are no second chances for that.
Addiction as a whole is very hard and even harder to recover from. It can tear families apart and alternatively, it can also bring a family closer together. It can grab onto a person and hold on so tight that a person can change their entire personality, their mental capacity and even their human decency but what it can’t change is will power. Will power is what is used to get a handle on addiction. Many times, people just need a little help to achieve what they see as impossible. There are so many great rehabilitation treatment centers in and around Hinesville, Georgia who want to help addicts recover from addiction. All are professional and have all the tools necessary to make recovery possible. They want to see people succeed, to heal and to move on. To create the best version of themselves. After all, is that not what we are all here for? My personal motto is “To be a better person tomorrow than I am today” and it has gotten me through some of the toughest times in my life. I am certain it has helped others to.