UNION CITY, GEORGIA
In the state of Georgia proper, drug and alcohol abuses statistically rank among the highest in the nation. The small town of Union City, located in Fulton County, maintains a population of under 25,000, and yet on a percentage basis is similar to Tifton in its meeting or exceeding the majority of the state in substance abuse-related treatment center admissions.
Union City’s topography is 19.3 miles in total area, with .83% as water. Transportation and warehousing is the city’s largest industry, and main occupation. The city hosts seven colleges, and three public schools. Evangelical Protestant (205,000 adherents) is the most common religion, followed by Mainline Protestant (170,000 adherents), Catholic (nearly 100,000 adherents), and Black Protestant (95,000 adherents).
The median income for a household in the city is estimated at $40,000, and for a household with a family approximately $43,000, the latter as compared to the state average of $54,000. Men typically earn more than woman for the same positions. The estimated 2017 median value of Union City houses or condos is $92,000, vs. the median statewide value of the same at $167,000.
Union City maintains a racial makeup of primarily African American, at 80%, followed by Caucasian at 8%, Hispanic at 7%, and the rest listed as Other Races, or Mixed. For the Union City population living in the city for over 25 years, 86% have completed high school, and 22.5% have attained a college degree. Nearly 50% of Union City residents of 15 years or more have never been married.
As of February 15, 2018, 65 registered sex offenders live in the city. The ratio of sex offenders to non-sex offenders living in the city is 315 to 1. Violent crimes, inclusive of murders, rapes, and assaults, approached 200 incidents in 2017. Non-violent crimes, primarily theft, accounted for nearly 2000 incidents in 2017. 70 law enforcement employees are currently employed in the city.
The city’s overall unemployment rate is identical to the state average, at 5.6%.
Union City is only 17 miles from the state hub of Atlanta, which has been identified as a High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA). As such, many of the illicit drug issues from the larger metropolitan Atlanta have infected Union City.
Georgia is located on the I-95 corridor, the key wholesale east coast drug distribution center and among the major drug importation hubs in the United States. The state is considered both a high-level smuggling center, and a final destination point for drug shipments. Atlanta is the state’s nexus of subsequent trafficking; the nearby Union City drug buyers either purchase in Atlanta, or within their own city from local DTOs (Drug Trafficking Organizations).
According to the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), the use of cocaine, which had once dissipated in the region, has been increasing since 2015. Crack cocaine was once the drug of choice in Union City, though presently cocaine in its pure form is increasing in popularity. Mexican DTOs continued in 2017 to move beyond Atlanta, and form formal bases of operation in surrounding smaller cities, including Union City. As with most of the rest of the country, meth and opioid abuse have been on a marked upswing. Caucasian traffickers are increasing local Union City production of both, converting meth oil and liquid meth into ice meth, which some officials believe to be the greatest of all continued drug threats to the city. Prescription opioid pain relievers are a substantial problem, and growing. Both commercial-grade marijuana and black tar (powdered) heroin are also ongoing growth issues.
Highly accessible public transportation creates an ease of access for anyone who chooses to discreetly purchase in Atlanta, as opposed to locally. This has enabled the problem.
In terms of admissions, cocaine and pot share a similar statistic, with nearly 3000 admissions collectively throughout Union City and Atlanta. Heroin admissions in both cities were collectively just under 1000 in 2017, as were admissions for meth, primarily speed.
The Department of Justice lists the most frequently abused opioids in the state as the following: codeine, fentanyl (Duragesic, Actiq), hydromorphone (Dilaudid), meperidine (Demerol), morphine (MS Contin), oxycodone (OxyContin), methadone (Dolophine), and hydrocodone combinations (Vicodin, Lortab, and Lorcet). According to the National Institute of Drug Abuse, cocaine use has declined year-to-year from 2010 to 2015, before leveling off. From 2010 to 2017, however, the state saw a year-to-year marked increase of 25 to 34 year-olds seeking treatment from traditional public centers. Alcohol is the most abused substance, contributing to nearly 48% of all treatment center admissions. Marijuana remains Georgia’s most popular illegal drug, with a yearly treatment average of 17% of all drug-related admissions.
The state ranks among the top 10 states in the country for prescription opioid overdose deaths. According to the Journal of Pain Medicine, the current yearly cost of opioid abuse in the U.S. exceeds $25 billion.
In several aspects, Union City and state statistics proper are consistent: Nearly 20% of high school students have smoked pot at least once, approximately 8% of the populace over age 11 have been reported as experimenting with an illegal drug, and heroin continues to be the city’s fastest-growing illicit drug of choice, as the state has become a noted heroin distribution center. Current monthly binge alcohol usage, based on a raw average statistic from a number of studies, including the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, has been estimated to exceed 15% of the Union City population, and over 1.5 million binge users in the state.
Union City maintains a large number of treatment resources for your consideration, both private and public. Regardless of the degree of your use, you will always be able to find a resource that is workable for you.
We have discussed this in other articles and profiles here, and it is well worth repeating: Pre-intake questions to consider, which mimic certain applications, include many that require the individual seeking help to dig deep inside and be brutally honest as to the degree and severity of their substance use.
Some common questions that will likely be asked on a pre-intake application form include the following:
“Have you ever substituted one drug for another, thinking one particular drug was the problem?” “Have you ever substituted one drug for another with the intent of a greater high?” “Does the thought of running out of drugs terrify you?” “Why do you use?” And, “Have you ever been in a jail, a hospital, or a drug rehabilitation center because of your using?”
Pre-intake, or before intake, is the stage in the process when one is considering their treatment options. As with any other self-diagnostic tool, consider the preceding questions as exploratory only. You must speak to a trained and licensed professional for any true diagnosis. Still, such introspection can be extremely useful. Pointed questions such as these deserve honest, well-thought answers. You may be validated in your responses, or you may dislike your responses. Likely both will apply to an extent. Regardless, consider your results, and then take necessary action.
A caveat: Even if you don’t believe you are addicted, but are concerned that your usage is growing, or that you may be on the cusp of a problem, our The Recover resources are there for you. You do not have to be on the far side of addiction to reach out to trained professionals as listed here.
In the same spirit, if you are drawn to use, but have not yet, you may still want to speak to a trained professional. 21 million Americans suffer from substance abuse issues. You are not alone.
Also, consider the following. Many users are private. Are you? Here’s what we mean. Many users are private, in the sense that they are quiet about their addiction issues. Resistance to receive treatment becomes one of the great enemies of wellness. The treatment specialist, even someone you speak with on the phone – a total stranger who mans an addiction hotline, for example – is not judging you. It is of immense importance that you understand this. Those who work in the field want to help. They are there for you. Your business will remain personal, and private. Nothing will change. Only those exposed to your immediate treatment will be aware of your treatment. We say this in the event you are nervous about such matters, that “the world will know.”
They will not. Treatment is a matter between the patient, and the specialists treating the patient.
If you believe you need help, then we strongly suggest you follow that gut instinct and get help. If, however – for whatever the reason – you believe you need help prior to entering formal treatment, we have a suggestion.
Speak to a friend, a family member, or an otherwise trusted associate. In an ideal situation, speak to someone you trust who has dealt with addiction issues. Ask them if they could help you, whether practically or by recommending someone who can work with you towards treatment. If you have no one you can trust, which is common for a user, then we suggest contacting one of the organizations on this page and speaking to them about your issues, or concerns.
If you come to believe an intervention may be in your best interests, but want to know more, here are some common elements practiced by an interventionist:
- Planning, preparation, and engagement of the intervention.
- Advisement of specific and appropriate treatment and rehab programs.
- Sensitivity issues in working with a user.
- Preparing all arrangements, including family consultation so they know what to expect.
- Continuing to work with the family – or friends – of the addict while they are undergoing inpatient or outpatient treatment.
- Arranging of all logistics, including payment and/or insurance requirements, and arrival.
The interventionist also sets ground rules as to how to interact with the user:
- Do not get upset with your family member, or friend, during the intervention.
- Avoid verbal labels during the intervention, such as “junkie,” “addict,” or “alcoholic.” The mindset is to not have the addict defined by their addiction.
- When deciding who to include in the intervention – again, friends and/or family of the addict (as we will continue to say for clarity’s sake in the context of these articles) – the number of people who attend must be kept to a minimum, and managed.
- Never perform the intervention if the addict, or another member of the group, is intoxicated.
Many interventions are initiated against the will of the user, by concerned associated parties. Television sometimes reinforces the myth that all interventions are violent, or potentially dangerous. Consider this: Is your addiction potentially dangerous?
If you find yourself as a surprised and unwilling subject of an intervention, those in charge are taking the action in your best interests. How you respond is, of course, up to you. However, note that the interventionist is there to help you, not hurt you.
Intervention can be a highly-effective tool when prudently undertaken. Those in charge have an immense responsibility to you and your safety, and they take that responsibility seriously.
Many addicts, or users with a problem whose usage is not yet defined as an addiction, make the mistake of not taking the first step towards sobriety as it regards intake. If you need help in making an informed decision as to what treatment method is right for you, we cannot encourage you strongly enough to, again, speak to family and/or friends who have been there before. Sometimes, a user has a difficult time making such decisions with a clear head.
And once more, if you know of no one who has been through these issues before, please contact one of the centers as listed on this page.
Also, we encourage you to ask yourself a few questions: 1) What is holding you back from getting help? 2) Do you believe you have a support system? If so, do you feel comfortable contacting them and speaking about your problem? If not, would you feel more comfortable contacting a professional? And 4) Do you believe you are capable of making an informed decision as to your treatment? If yes, you are well-advised to take advantage of one or more of the resources here. If no, you are strongly advised to contact one of the phone numbers listed here, and discuss your reservations.
Again, they are there to help.
During the intake application process, you will be required to list your prescription medications and days and times taken (if “none,” you check “none”), an authorization of medical care, a list of allergies or other medical issues, and a waiver of responsibility. Some applications ask more. A physician or treatment center representative will then review your application for the proper steps, and treatment.
If you have come this far, kudos to you. You have taken a major step towards reclaiming your life, and your potential.
The concept and practice of detox is typically broken down into three distinct phases: Evaluation, Stabilization, and Transition to Inpatient Drug Rehab.
Evaluation: As overseen by a doctor, who will determine what drugs are presently being used, how long has the patient been using, and how much and how frequently the patient uses.
Stabilization: As expounded on the site, stabilization differs patient to patient, based on specific substance being abused. This is the end result of the withdrawal phase.
Transition to Inpatient Drug Rehab: Many addicts believe that once they complete withdrawal, they are finished with their treatment. That is a dangerous belief, as withdrawal only releases the immediate physical hold of the substance.
Communication is key. Some users are resistant to treatment, most especially when in a treatment center against their will. In this instance, your communication with your specialists will be at risk. Remember, they are there to help you. You have the freedom to ask questions, and the right to receive answers.
That is one of the benefits of treatment, a better understanding of your illness.
INPATIENT TREATMENT RESOURCES
Inpatient treatment is frequently misunderstood, as there are several options available to the user under that umbrella title. Many people believe the term to refer to only hospital treatment. Or, only highly-restrictive treatment. In reality, it is neither.
Inpatient treatment can either be PHP (a partial hospitalization providing a highly-structured environment, with typically active treatment of 30 hours per week), the less-intensive IOP (intensive outpatient treatment plan, which requires up to three hours daily over 3-5 days, for a total of nine hours weekly; therapy is usually included, but the patient can live either at their own home or a halfway house during the process), and an RTC (residential)
Though you may be the best determinant of the degree of inpatient recovery resources best suited to your needs, frequently one may need the help of family or friends to help you more clearly identify the treatment options that are most prudent for your needs. From there, only your personal commitment will determine your success.
PHPs and RTCs are amazing resources for those with more severe or difficult abuse issues. Both options are highly-structured, especially the former. The importance of structure cannot be understated. You will have a time for medicinal treatment, a time for personal or group therapy, a time to rest, a time for activities …
Frequently, a user has little structure outside of the treatment center. The user is more interested in the high than by scheduling their day via their clock. The structure of PHP treatment, particularly, may be a challenge for some. But, if you allow the treatment to take its course, the end-result can exceed your most optimistic hopes.
So ask yourself: “Do I do well in a structured environment?” “Am I functional in a structured environment, or will I have a better chance to succeed with something less restrictive? As ever, a user if not always the best determinant as to treatment. If a user is high while making the decision, that will be in no one’s best interests. It’s time to commit, with as free a sense of mind as possible.
We will talk more about the level of commitment in a moment
OUTPATIENT TREATMENT RESOURCES
Outpatient treatment is a comprehensive approach to wellness, and no less impactful than inpatient services. Please research the importance of outpatient treatment resources on The Recover, or speak to loved ones who have been through the process. Recovery is an ongoing process, which requires a substantive lifestyle change to avoid the ever-present threat of a relapse.
Let’s discuss a bit further. Outpatient treatment allows the patient a certain level of responsibility to remain clean while outside of the treatment center. You will face temptations but will have also learned specific strategies as to how to deal with them. It is up to you to take advantage of those lessons. There is a certain degree of trust on the part of the outpatient treatment administrators that the user will remain clean, and at the same time outpatient treatment allows for the user to remain productive on the outside while still receiving help. If you work, you can schedule your outpatient appointments or check-ins after hours.
One very important point, though, under this or any treatment circumstance: The entirely of your treatment is a commitment. Outpatient or not, if you miss one appointment you will likely miss another. That is a recipe for failure. What you allow, you encourage.
Never allow an excuse to fail. More precisely, let’s say it as it is: There are countless reasons why one would fail, in this or any other environment. Laziness, rigidity, intimidation …
There are fewer reasons to succeed: Yourself, first of all, then your loved ones (your collective of family and friends). Which means more to you? The pain of the commitment to get well, or the pleasure of using? If you answer the latter question as your affirmative, consider those loved ones who care about you, and worry about you.
On that note, let us elaborate upon the concept of commitment for a moment. Some users resent the term, thinking many of those who do not use, or who are not otherwise plagued by addiction, tend to believe commitment is that much easier than it truly is. How can a user commit to anything at all, one may ask, much less treatment if said user is overwhelmed by their addiction?
It is very difficult. Really, it is. Understand that you have something very important in common, however, with a non-user: Specifically, nothing comes easy without work. And commitment, make no mistake, is work. This is why we mention that you may want to speak to a trusted confidante about your experiences. If you have trust issues, research your options on your own but once you make your decisions, without commitment your recovery will be that much more challenging.
You can do this, though. You can reclaim your life. A commitment is necessary, but we cannot make that commitment for you.
Always remember, you are not defined by your addictions. Make a decision, take action, and commit. You got this. Wellness is a process, such as treatment is a process. Patience really is a virtue in these matters.
But just imagine if you come out of the other side of that tunnel, what can be in store for you. The opportunities are limitless in what now becomes a newly-leveled playing field.
AFTERCARE AND SOBER LIVING RESOURCES
Not all sober houses or aftercare facilities are created equal. However, you will frequently be surrounded by others in a supportive and understanding environment, others who have undergone similar difficulties. Sober houses most frequently prove to the addict – which as you see here is a message on repeat – that you are not alone.
There have been several popular television shows on various networks over the last decade that have dramatized the sober living experience. We suggest that you watch with caution, as several of these shows contain scripted elements that do not necessarily give a positive view of what could be a positive experience. One such program portrayed sober living as seriousness and group therapy during the day, and parties at night.
Does the above accurately reflect what really goes on behind the scenes. The answer is … sometimes. That’s the issue. We’ve seen users looking forward to attending sober houses for all the wrong reasons. The sober house experience is an often integral part of your overall treatment. But, it can be as abused as the substances for which you have been admitted.
You will live among others in a place away from your home. A sober care facility will actually be your new home until you leave. Others can influence you, so be careful. Sober living can be a hugely beneficial and beautiful experience, but remember, you are still in treatment.
Many sober house programs have formal graduation ceremonies. Tears will flow. You have achieved something remarkable! You have completed this part of your treatment. You have been armed with some amazing experiences, options to continue treatment, and/or the ability to now help others. Many sober living administrators are themselves former addicts, who are now immensely productive.
And they’re making an honest paycheck.
Help Is Out There
Union City has been highly proactive in its efforts to curb its drug issues. According to www.drugabuse.gov, among the largest current apprehensions is that heroin usage and the general epidemic of opiates will evolve. This is a Georgia-wide issue. The fear relates to its growing availability through the state’s DTOs, and a perception of increasing affordability.
But, as ever, help is always out there. Always do your own research to find what is best for you, and use the above listings as a base. Many of the centers previously mentioned will accept Medicaid and Medicare, or cash. Many will also work with you in terms of financial assistance. Do your diligence first, and then pick up the phone.
True recovery begins with the acknowledgment that you have an issue, and then seeking help for that issue.