Marietta, with a 2014 population of 59,067, is located to the north of Atlanta, Georgia’s largest city. In the heart of Cobb County, its surrounding urban areas include Fair Oaks, Kennesaw and Smyrna. If you or a loved one are struggling with a drug or alcohol addiction and are i need of support in the local area, you’ll find a number of options both in Marietta or a little further afield.
Drug addiction in Marietta
As one of Atlanta’s largest suburbs, which has seen its population increase by 33 percent since 2000, Marietta can get caught up in the bigger city’s drug-related problems. But it also has some of its own. It is therefore important to get an idea of the drug-related problems affecting the city and the state of Georgia more broadly, the impact various drugs can have, and the treatment programs in Georgia available to help you or a loved one overcome an addiction.
Like many urban areas across North America, Marietta has been impacted by a drug overdose epidemic caused by extremely dangerous opioids such as fentanyl and carfentanyl. Fentanyl is roughly 50 times stronger than heroin and has been linked with a spike in overdose deaths in many cities. An amount the size of a grain of salt can be sufficient to cause an overdose and risk someone’s life. In June 2017, the Marietta Police Department issued a warning to local residents about the increased presence of both opioids on the city’s streets. They stressed that fentanyl and carfentanyl are so potent that members of the public could be put at risk by drug residue left behind in areas like hotel rooms, restrooms, rental vehicles or apartments.
Addiction in Georgia
In the peach State, 21,129 people sought treatment for a substance abuse problem in 2012. One year earlier, in 2011, drug-induced deaths in Georgia amounted to 11.6 per 100,000, slightly below the US national average of 12.9 per 100,000.
The National Institute for Drug Abuse noted that alcohol, either alone or in combination with other drugs like cocaine or marijuana, is the most commonly abused drug in Atlanta. In 2012, alcohol was the drug causing the most drug-related crisis line calls. The number of people in the city making crisis calls due to alcohol abuse rose from 20,404 in 2011 to 21,410 in 2012. Alcohol addiction contributed to almost half of all treatment admissions in 2012. That compares to 16.3 percent of admissions being linked to marijuana, the most commonly-used elicit drug in Georgia’s largest city.
The problem with alcohol extends across the state. In 2016, there were 19,000 arrests for DUI offenses.
A worrying trend has been the increase in methamphetamine admissions in Atlanta, which reached their highest level since 2006 in 2012. During the 2010-12 period, admissions to public treatment programs rose by more than 20 percent, from 5.2 percent to 6.4 percent of total admissions.
The challenge of combatting drug addiction in Georgia is complicated by the fact that the state, and Atlanta in particular, is seen as an important drug trafficking route in the southeastern United States for international drug cartels. This makes elicit substances easier to obtain on the streets of the state’s towns and cities. An example of the risks involved came in May 2017, when the Georgia Bureau of Investigations issued a public health warning about the synthetic opioid Furanyl Fentanyl. The GBI said the drug was so powerful that it could kill if someone touched it or inhaled its residue. The warning cautioned people to look out for symptoms such as shallow breathing, dizziness, lethargy, cold or clammy skin, loss of consciousness or heart failure.
The threat of becoming addicted to drugs in Georgia is faced by various age groups and sections of the population. Between 2009 and 2013, a yearly average of 73,000 adolescents in Georgia said they had abused an illegal substance within a month of being surveyed.
Drug laws in Georgia
The state of Georgia treats drug possession very severely. According to Atlanta Criminal Defense Attorney, the most likely outcome of a conviction for drug possession is a lengthy prison sentence. State law interprets personal possession in very broad terms, meaning that if you’re driving a car with drugs in it, authorities will still try to prove you had possession. In addition, two people can face charges for being in possession of the same drugs.
Georgia’s Controlled Substance Act classifies drugs into five schedules. Each drug is assessed for its potential for abuse, tendency to cause addiction and recognized medical use. Schedule I drugs are seen as the most dangerous and include such substances as:
Schedule II includes:
Drug possession in Georgia is treated as a felony offense, with the only exception to this being if you’re carrying less than an ounce of marijuana. Possession of a schedule I or schedule II drug can lead to a prison sentence of between two and 15 years, if it is your first offense. In the case of second or subsequent offenses, sentences can range from between five to 30 years. High fines are also imposed. Even in instances where you are arrested for possession of schedule III, IV or V drugs, prison time is to be expected. Sentences range from one to five years for the first offense to one to 10 years on the second or subsequent offenses.
Treatment in Marietta
If you or a close friend or relative are experiencing drug addiction and feel you need support to get your life back on track, Marietta, Georgia, has a number of treatment facilities available to help you. With the city being part of Atlanta’s metropolitan area, you also have the option of taking advantage of the wide array of treatment options available there.
Inpatient programs are an excellent way to tackle a drug addiction, enabling you to receive the support and care you require in a safe and secure environment.
Depending on your requirements, or where you’re at in the treatment process, the option of an outpatient program may be more suitable. This would allow you to continue with other life commitments while receiving regular advice and assistance to overcome addiction.
In marietta, A good place to start could well be the Cobb and Douglas Counties Community Services Boards. The CDCCSB runs an access center which undertakes initial assessments of potential patients to determine their care and support needs, both for substance abuse issues and co-occurring mental health problems.
“Youth between ages of 13 and 17 who is experiencing a severe crisis which has significantly compromised safety and/or functioning. Youth must have symptoms of a substance related disorder and/ or some with co-occurring disorders; and one or more of the following:
“Youth symptoms/behaviors indicate a need for continuous monitoring and supervision by 24-hour staff to ensure safety; or
“Youth/family has insufficient or severely limited skills to maintain an adequate level of functioning, specifically identified deficits in daily living and social skills and/or community/family integration; or
“Youth has adaptive behaviors that significantly strain the family’s or current caretaker’s ability to adequately respond to the youth’s needs; or
“Youth has a history of unstable housing due to a behavioral health issue or a history of unstable housing which exacerbates a behavioral health condition.”
For adults, the Diversion Center provides an outpatient program, which offers a session once a week for patients. The program aims to develop patients’ abilities to set goals, work on self-improvement and become more self-aware. The organization’s Prime for Life educational program aims to reduce alcohol and drug addiction. The Diversion’s services are court-approved, and also include alcohol and drug evaluations.
The Extension is a long-term residential recovery program based in Marietta. Recognizing that homeless people can be particularly vulnerable to drug abuse and its negative consequences, the center states that it aims to give homeless men and women another chance to turn their lives around. The Extension receives word of mouth referrals from across Cobb County, and also accepts referrals from government services and non-profits.
Having been active in the area for 25 years, the Extension has built a reputation for its treatment programs. Beginning with an assessment of a patient’s needs, trained staff working on the residential program arrange substance abuse counseling for drug users, as well as educational training and life skills programs to prepare individuals for a sustained and successful recovery. Programs range in length from nine to 12 months. Early on in an individual’s residency, staff work with them to develop and individualized treatment plan (ITP).
The Anxiety and Stress Management Institute has facilities found on the border between Marietta and Atlanta. It provides comprehensive therapy and counseling services for people dealing with mental health disorders. Some of the services on offer include cognitive behavioral therapy, smoking secession therapy, play therapy and psychological testing.
Sober living is also a crucial part of recovery. A drug user looking to get back into the community and make a full, sustainable recovery benefits from a safe and clean environment in which they can focus on getting better and reintegrating themselves into society.
Treatment options in Atlanta
If you choose to go outside of marietta for treatment, you won’t have far to travel to take advantage of the services on offer in Atlanta.