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Addiction and Treatment in Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Baton Rouge is the capital city of Louisiana, and it’s the second largest city in the state, behind New Orleans. It has a population of 227,715. Baton Rouge has a long-standing drug and alcohol abuse problem. The availability of illegal substances makes it very difficult for people to commit to becoming sober.  But the problem has also spawned numerous treatment facilities in Baton Rouge and Louisiana as a whole. So if you live in Baton Rouge and are battling substance use, you shouldn’t have difficulty finding a suitable treatment center.

If you live in Baton Rouge, and have fallen victim to substance abuse don’t hesitate to seek treatment. There are enormous resources in at your disposal.
Credit: https://www.history.com/topics/us-states/louisiana

Drug Use Prevalence

Louisiana has for years featured among the top 10 U.S. states for abuse of a range of illegal substances including cocaine, marijuana, prescription drugs and heroin. Louisiana’s Drug Control Update of 2013 revealed that drug-related deaths for the state exceeded the country’s average. A 2016 study by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) found that while heroin was prevalent in New Orleans, cocaine (especially crack cocaine) was the drug of choice elsewhere in Louisiana, including Baton Rouge.

Cocaine had for long been associated with the most violent crimes in the state. Injectable crack cocaine is increasing in appeal because it’s less expensive than the powdered inhalable variety. Its kit can be put together using items that can’t be regulated in the same way as meth production ingredients. Heroin use continues to cause alarm too. However, a growing menace has been synthetic marijuana, a cannabis copycat drug that doesn’t actually contain cannabis. A raid on a grocery establishment in Baton Rouge in 2012 resulted in police impounding 100 pounds worth of synthetic marijuana. But police vigilance hasn’t stopped rising abuse. That’s because the chemical makeup of synthetic drugs, in general, is often changing, making it difficult for police to detect them.

The use of meth and of prescription drugs has been growing steadily among the youth since 2012. In that year, most of the 27 drug overdose deaths in East Baton Rouge Parish were due to prescription drugs. Meth’s appeal is due to the fact that it’s cheap and readily available on the streets, and it’s not as bulky or easily detectable as marijuana. Mobile meth labs are also on the increase, making distribution of the drug easier.

The Battle against Drug Abuse

Collaboration between local law enforcement agents and DEA mobile units has not stopped the swell of drug use among young adults and adolescents. The problem is that there are too many drugs coming in via Latin America. Drug traffickers use Louisiana’s sea, air, and interstate routes to transport the drugs within.

So as a drug-combatting measure, the state is focusing more on stepping up its education initiatives and treatment programs.  The state’s drug recovery rate is said to be among the highest. Drug use rates are falling among older adults. Cocaine abuse is now more prevalent among the younger 18-35 year olds. According to research, the bad effects of cocaine are more keenly felt after the age of 35 leading to users beyond that age either enrolling in treatment programs, or changing to another drug. However, the state’s education efforts are constantly being hampered by cuts in federal funding.

Drug Charges in Louisiana

The state also has a raft of charges to deter drug abuse. Offences include:

  • Possession of drugs
  • Prescription drugs misuse
  • Growing, manufacture, sales, distribution and trafficking of drugs
  • Driving under drug influence
  • Ownership of drug paraphernalia

Repeated offences can result in large fines and long prison sentences. Possession, for instance, may earn you incarceration of between 15 days and 40 years. It depends on the amount you’re caught with. Constant distribution to a minor can earn you 10 to 90 years behind bars. Marijuana may only be possessed for medical use. However, with drug crimes, there can be leniency if you agree to court supervised drug treatment. 

Can I avoid jail time if I go to rehab?

Alcohol Abuse Laws in Louisiana

Louisiana has high levels of drinking and driving incidents too, and police regularly arrest drivers who take to the roads while impaired. Every year the laws are tightened to stop people driving while drunk. Baton Rouge has a special sobriety court. Alcohol abuse charges become increasingly stiff with repeated offences. Prison time can stretch to 30 years and fines to $5,000. Additionally, you’ll have to have an Ignition Interlock Device (IID) attached to your ignition. It’s a breathalyzer-type device that can shut down your ignition for a period of time if it detects alcohol use. This period is extended each time you fail a test. You’re also obliged to enter inpatient alcohol abuse treatment for 6 weeks and spend a year at an outpatient facility.

Alcohol and Drug Management in Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Louisiana has more than 100 drug and alcohol centers, and a number of them are located in Baton Rouge. They take you through the various stages of treatment and provide support for the crucial post-treatment period to enable you to remain sober in the long-term.


With various treatment centers at your disposal, it can be difficult for you to know how to begin your search. But here are some useful points to ponder while you’re looking.

  1. What are the essentials of treatment?

Treatment typically involves 4 main stages:

  • The evaluation stage where your needs are assessed to decide the type of care you’ll require.
  • The detox stage, where all traces of your alcohol or drug type are eliminated from your body.
  • The rehab stage (at an inpatient or outpatient center) where you are taught skills to help you get rid of your addictive behavior.
  • The post-treatment stage where you receive extended support in the long-term to help keep you sober.

These are the basics of treatment, even for people who enter via the court system.  

  1. What should I look for in a facility?

Seeking help for your alcohol or drug addiction is a big step. It will require a lot of time and commitment, and you won’t want to feel you’ve wasted your time at the end of it, so you’ll need to look for a competent program that will truly help you. Here are some pointers:

  • Are you satisfied that it can treat your level and type of addiction and other underlying problems that could be stoking your addiction?
  • Does the facility use tried and tested methods such as behavioral or cognitive therapy? These methods will be essential in helping you to control your cravings and triggers without resorting to drugs or alcohol.
  • Do they have separate facilities for men and women, or adults and children? Perhaps you’d prefer a gender-specific or age-specific program.
  • Do they approach treatment in a holistic or faith-based way or in another way that might appeal to you?
  • Is there an extended care program for when your leave rehab? Your continued sobriety can’t be guaranteed without one.
  • Is the facility accredited with a renowned body, and are staff members qualified for their task?
  • Do they have financial arrangements that will allow you to have full treatment?

Check out more Frequently Asked Questions about rehab on our FAQs page.

Intake or Assessment

  1. What will I do during Intake?

When you decide to join a facility, there’s paper work to take care of and some tests to be done before you start formal treatment. The process will take about two hours. The idea is to create a treatment plan designed for you personally. No two people will be affected by drugs or alcohol in precisely the same way. The assessment process varies from center to center, but below are the typical facets of an intake process:

  • You’ll have a general chat with a treatment specialist about what’s on offer, and your payment options.
  • You will sign a form giving details of your drug or alcohol habit, how it began and how long it’s lasted, and information about your family and lifestyle.
  • You’ll be given drugs and alcohol tests.

You can be as honest as you like because your information will be kept private and confidential.


  1. Can’t I just detox and forget everything else?

If you have a busy life, you might be tempted to stop with detox. The process will take from a few days to 2 weeks depending on how far gone your addiction is. However, it’s not enough to achieve full sobriety. While it gets rid of all elements of your substance of choice, it’s only the first step in the treatment process.  It must be followed by counseling and behavioral therapy to establish the psychology behind your addiction and to learn ways to keep it at bay. This process will take place at an outpatient or inpatient rehab outlet.

  1. Why can’t I do my own detox?

For your own safety, your detox has to take place formally, at a hospital or, at an inpatient facility where there are trained staff to watch you and take action in case of any problem. All detox is difficult, particularly from alcohol or heroin abuse. The withdrawal symptoms that accompany detox can be life-threatening and medication may be needed to help control them. So you can’t detox in an informal setting such as your home. You will not have the necessary safeguards in place.

What is withdrawal? How long does it last?

Inpatient Rehab

  1. What are the basics of residential rehab?

When you opt for the inpatient treatment service, you are opting for intensive treatment to get you off your habit. The most reputable and most professional programs adopt an integrated or combined therapy approach which looks at the total person—that is your physical, mental and social state. Only be attaining total body strength will you be able to ward off addiction in the long-term. According to research, you need to stay at an inpatient facility for three months or more if you are to make real progress in stopping or lessening drug or alcohol use.

The following are the different elements of inpatient rehab:


You’ll attend personal, family and group sessions to pinpoint the causes of your addiction and try to eliminate them. There will be fellowship meetings within your facility and outside of it, such as the 12-step meetings, so you can exchange valuable coping ideas with your peers. You’ll most likely continue with these meetings once you leave rehab. They provide valuable support and accountability outside of formal treatment. They include Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Narcotics Anonymous (NA). Studies have shown group work to be particularly effective in treating substance addiction because of its emphasis on shared experiences, and because of the camaraderie that often results from it.

Behavioral Therapy

With this method you learn a whole new mindset to stop you getting addicted again. You learn what your triggers are and how to deal with them without turning to drugs or alcohol. You also work hard at preventing a relapse. You can never discount the possibility of relapse either during treatment or during the post treatment period.  Additionally, you learn and improve upon your skills of interaction. That’s why group work is such an important part of this therapy. Rewards may also be offered at every completed stage as an incentive for you to continue to improve.

Medical Care

Inpatient rehab also has a medical side to it. You’ll be medically monitored and you will receive medication if you have prolonged and deep alcohol and drug abuse. Studies have found that the meds work really well when used alongside counseling and behavioral therapy.

Specialist Care

The more professional facilities have expert staff at every level of care. Individual, family and group counseling as well as the behavioral therapy and the medical side of things, are all under specialist staff with the appropriate qualifications and licensing. You are monitored on a personal level, 24/7. You have a specialist assigned to your case with whom you meet daily to review you program and to make adjustments when a problem develops such as a relapse. It’s quite common to relapse if your addiction was severe.

Leisure Pursuits

Rehab is also about balance. Your mind can’t be focused on recovery every minute of the day. There has to be time for leisure and relaxation.

Perhaps there’s a healthy hobby you’d like to continue with or start while you’re in rehab. Find out if your facility can accommodate you on this. Some facilities offer aerobics, yoga and meditation classes. Others have optional church services. You will also most probably go on some well-deserved off-campus outings. Baton Rouge is extremely scenic. There are areas that will probably catch your fancy.

  1. Who is inpatient rehab for?

You have much to benefit from inpatient rehab if you have a severe addiction problem and if you are struggling with relapse issues. Many centers offer the total package—detox, then rehab, and then education for your life outside of rehab. Others don’t offer detox facilities. So you might detox at a hospital, and then enroll at a rehab facility for the rest of your treatment.

  1. Are there different types of inpatient care?

You can basically choose between short-term and longer term care. That means your treatment will last 1 to 3 months, or between 6 and 12 months. Many graduates from inpatient care said they benefited more from the lengthy program. It enabled them to practice being sober for longer and to consolidate their recovery path.

Outpatient Therapy

The outpatient option is very popular in Baton Rouge. Some centers offer it exclusively while others offer it as part of their aftercare program once a patient has been through detox and residential care.

  1. How long is treatment?

As with inpatient care, there are short-term intensive programs that last about a month. And again, for best results, try to choose a facility that will allow you to stay for 3 months to a year for a more assured recovery process.

  1. How does outpatient therapy differ from inpatient therapy?

Outpatient therapy does not require you to live at the facility. You stay at home and visit the center for treatment. So it’s cheaper than residential care. You will also have to routinely submit to drug tests to ensure you’re remaining clean during the times when you’re not at the center. Other than this, treatment specialists follow the same integrated approach to treatment that is found with inpatient care. This involves a mix of medical care, behavioral therapy and counseling.

  1. Who should go into outpatient therapy?

There are different types of outpatient therapy to cater for different needs. A clinical assessment will determine whether or not you qualify for it. Your program will still be individualized. Generally, you would go into outpatient therapy if you fall into any of these categories:

Those with manageable addiction

If your addiction is not severe or disruptive, and you can’t be away from home for long periods, you can opt for regular outpatient therapy. You carry on your life as normal but visit the center about two hours a day, and at times which are not in conflict with your home, school and work obligations. Some outpatient centers have detox facilities or if not, they will refer you to those that do. Your intake assessment will determine whether you should detox or not. Detox done at such a facility takes about a week compared to the 2 weeks involved in the inpatient system. Medication may be administered to help you cope with withdrawal symptom. You will need to visit a hospital throughout the detox for safety checks. Treatment can take place just three days a week and go on for about an hour.

Those wanting intensive care without having to living in

If you want more intensive care than the regular option can give you, or if you’ve been through the inpatient program but feel you need more support, you may enroll in the Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP). Medical and non-medical detox may be required before you begin your IOP program. It’s a part-time but rigorous option that’s worked around your family and work obligations. You have group therapy in small groups of around 10 people but you have a personal therapist that you have weekly meetings with. Duration of treatment is around eight weeks, give and take, depending on your individual needs. But to enter this program you cannot have any physical or mental needs that require full-time monitoring.

The Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP) is similar to IOP but is more intense. Some institutions won’t accept you if you haven’t completed inpatient care. Meds may be administered.  While IOP attendance is daily for a few hours, PHP treatment happens daily for 4 to 8 hours.

Both IOP and PHP are more rigorous and regulated than the normal outpatient option. There’s more monitoring and analysis of your advancement throughout the program.

  1. Who should steer clear of outpatient therapy?

If you have extreme forms of addiction—you’ve been a user for a long time, have been indulging in hard substances for a long period, or have mental issues on top of your addiction—you would be unwise to seek any form of outpatient care till you’ve been through the inpatient system.

Should I choose inpatient or outpatient?


No matter how long your treatment goes on for, it will never cure you of your addiction. Rather, it will teach you to manage it and to continue to consolidate these management skills after leaving rehab. That’s how you ward of a relapse.  Most centers have an aftercare procedure which involves gently easing you into a support system before you graduate. They may get you involved in self-help and 12-step programs in your area, for instance. Joining such groups is entirely up to you but studies have shown that they are important in helping you stay sober in the long-term.

  1. What’s the use of a sober living home?

A sober living facility is like a halfway house between the ending of formal treatment and a return to your normal life. It’s a popular option among those who complete inpatient rehab. You build on the anti-relapse skills that you learned in formal care. The atmosphere is more layback and the homes are run by veteran recovering patients.

What happens after discharge?