Opioid Crisis and Treatment in Jackson, Mississippi
Jackson, the capital of Mississippi, is a small city with a population of 171,155. While cocaine and methamphetamine are enormous problems in Jackson as well as the state, it is facing a rapidly growing opioid crisis. The number of deaths from overdoses has soared in the last year and continues to rise. However, the state is not sitting complacently by and watching. Government agencies within the state have banned together to form a coalition called Stand Up, Mississippi. This program gives educational information on opioids and opioid addiction, where addicts can find treatment, location of prescription drug drop boxes, as well as other resources. The coalition has also worked to get Narcan, the lifesaving opioid reversal drug, into the hands of law enforcement as well as the general public.
As, Mississippi is 5th in the nation for prescriptions of opioids being filled, the state is taking positive steps to end its escalating opioid epidemic. They have asked doctors prescribing opioid based pain killers to prescribe the least amount of drugs they can for the shortest period of time possible to prevent addiction in the first place. A drug monitoring system has been put in place that prevents people for having multiple opioid prescriptions filled by multiple doctors.
As the state cracks down of the prescription pain killers, addicts are turning to the cheaper and easy to find alternative, heroin. There is a growing overdose problem mainly due to fentanyl being added to heroin. Fentanyl is 50 times more powerful than heroin. Addicts who are unaware that the fentanyl has been added to their heroin, will inject what they assume to be their normal amount of the drug and overdose. At the beginning of 2018, citizens from all over Mississippi gathered in Jackson for a candlelight vigil to remember victims of opioid overdose and were able to share their stories of loss with law makers, hoping to bring about more change in Mississippi and help those in the throes of opioid addiction.
The state has also created a drug testing policy for those receiving welfare. Welfare recipients are required to take mandatory drug tests. Should they test positive they are required to seek drug treatment from a preapproved treatment facility in order to continue receiving assistance.
Crime in Jackson, Mississippi
For a small city, the crime rate in Jackson is exceptionally high. In fact, the crime rate is 80% higher in Jackson than the rest of the state and 93% higher than the rest of the country. Violent crimes are high in this city as well as crimes involving burglary.
Law enforcement has been very successful in finding and arresting drug dealers, but it seems as if when one goes, they are quickly replaced. It can’t seem to stem the flow of drugs that are pouring into Mississippi.
Opioids (Heroin and Pain Killers)
Opioids, such as heroin and prescription pain killers are powerfully addictive. 80% of people who are on heroin started out on prescription pain killers such as Vicodin, Percocet, and Oxycontin. Opioids not only cause a large number of health problems, but the risk of overdose is huge.
Opioid use over a prolonged period of time can increase people’s sensitivity to pain. It makes them unable to stand pain they were once able to easily tolerate. It also has a strange effect on hormones, decreasing testosterone in men as well as causing sexual dysfunction and can lead to anomalous milk production in women.
Users who inject heroin also up their chances of contracting diseases such as HIV and hepatitis. Opioid addicts are more susceptible to infection as well as heart attacks, kidney and liver disease, and lung complications, including pneumonia.
Cocaine is highly addictive and very dangerous. Users can not only lose weight in a rapid amount of time but can develop other unpleasant side effects such as chronic fatigue, abdominal pain, Prolonged headaches, and nose bleeds. Addicts are also in danger from coronary artery disease, heart attack, cardiac and/or raspatory arrest, stroke, seizure, and death
Meth can leave its mark not just on the body but on the addict’s face. The lifeless eyes, missing teeth and sunken cheekbones and jawlines, as well as, scabs and sores on their faces. Meth takes once attractive people and turns them into the very worst versions of themselves.
Meth also puts users at risk from heart attacks, strokes, seizures and even death. Dramatic weight loss and malnutrition turns once healthy-looking individuals into living skeletons. Meth users also suffer from mental issues and behavioral problems such as paranoia, hallucinations, psychosis, anxiety, and depression. They can also become incredibly violent. Diseases such as HIV and Hepatitis are also a concern for those who inject the drug.
Signs of Addiction
Recognizing addiction in a loved one can be difficult, not because the symptoms aren’t there but because it’s hard to believe someone we love has fallen into such a situation.
- Change in appetite
- Dramatic weight loss
- Declining health
- Drastic change in physical appearance
- Lack of hygiene
- Impaired motor skills and coordination or slurred speech
- Odd smells on them or in their dwelling
- Sleeping a lot more or considerably less
- Emotional outburst, Periods of unexplained anger, mood swings
- Poor work or school performance- termination from job, suspension, or dropping grades
- New group of friends or engaging in new activities
- Engaging in risky behavior or getting in trouble with the law
- Appearing dazed or confused or simple not able to focus
- Money troubles
Most Prolific Drugs Abused in Mississippi
- Prescription Drug (ex: Pain Killers)
- MDMA (street name: Molly)
- LSD (Street name: acid)
Getting Help in Jackson, Mississippi
Acknowledging that you have a chemical dependency and need help, is essentially the first step on the road to recovery. This is not an easy road, but it is the best decision you will ever make towards turning your life around. It can be frightening to seek treatment if you don’t know what to expect. Rehab is a place that will help beat your addiction but also support you making the necessary life changes that are central to beating your addiction permanently.
Finding a Treatment Facility in Jackson, Mississippi
There are many great rehabs to choose from in Jackson. While personal preference is important, you should make sure that your chosen rehab has a few significant components. It is important that your chosen rehab is licensed with the state and accredited. Although this may not seem like a big deal, it really will make a difference in the quality of your care and the qualifications of the staff working there. You or a love one should investigate the facility’s success rate with people completing their program. Finally, it is essential that your rehab have an aftercare program. It is important that the facility views recovery as a lifelong journey and are committed to staying with you and keeping you sober. Your rehab should have a plan in place to offer you support once you have completed your treatment. Each case is different and unique, and a good rehab will practice this principle. Your journey is your own and it can take as long as you need it to as long as you are moving forward.
What is an Assessment?
Upon beginning the rehab process, you will have an assessment. This is like an interview (that is sometimes accompanied by a physical). The health care specialist will gather information about you including family history, drug use, and any other pertinent information that will help them treat you specifically. It is important that, although you find this process uncomfortable, you need to be completely honest. The rehab staff is there to help you recover and they will need your complete unaltered history and the extent of your drug problem to do so. Although embarrassing, your honesty can only help you get the exact treatment you need. If there are other physical or mental issues that are adding to your addiction, those will be addressed at this time as well.
What is Pre-Intake?
The pre-intake is the process during which the facility reviews your case to see what course they should recommend for you, such as detox, inpatient or outpatient. In most case of severe drug addiction, a period of detox is not only recommended but is necessary.
What is Intake?
Once you have completed your assessment, the intake process can begin. You will have paperwork to complete and the facility will collect your personal information and insurance. You will then be setup in what ever program your facility feels is appropriate. In cases of drug addiction with dangerous withdrawals, you will almost certainly spend a period of time in a medical detox facility.
What is Detox?
Some drug addictions have serious physical side effects and when you quit, can have acute physical withdrawal. You body will literally crave the drug, and therefore detoxification is necessary for certain drug addictions. The physical withdrawals can be dangerous and even life threatening. In many cases, this is where numerous people who are trying to quit without the assistance of medical detox fail. Often, addicts will use just to stop the pain and suffering they are experiencing from the withdrawals.
This is probably the most difficult part of the entire rehab process. However, with the assistance of the medical staff, who can provide medications which will ease your craving and withdrawal symptoms, your detox can go smoothly and with minimal discomfort.
Substance Specific Detox
Many patients going through rehab will decide to attend a detox facility that specializes in detoxing for their specific drug addiction such as opioids like heroin and pain killers or methamphetamines. These facilities are ready for exactly how your body will react to detox and prepared to help you because they only treat your specific drug addiction.
Medication-Assisted Treatment Program
Some drug detoxifications require a slow taper rather than a full stop. In some cases, stopping completely can be too dangerous. Doctors can provide patients with medication with lower controlled amounts and continue tapering down until the drug is out of their system, safely. This saves the patients from the throes of severe withdrawal.
What is Inpatient Treatment?
After completing detox, the real work begins. Intense therapy for severe addictions is an absolute necessity to help the patient understand why they abuse drugs and find new positive ways to deal with their issues. Some addictions are caused by undiagnosed mental disorders. Once these have been diagnosed, they can be treated at the same time as the addiction. Although, the length of time you be required to stay in inpatient treatment is at the discretion of your doctor, typically, it can range anywhere from 30-90 days.
RTC- Residential Treatment Center
Residential treatment centers are similar to inpatient treatment centers except the setting is more like a home than a hospital. They are able to reside in some somewhat more relaxed surroundings. Patients still have fulltime support and intense therapy. They are subjected to different therapies and treatments, such as behavioral therapy, as well as Individual and group therapy, to help them work through their past issues and work on their drug issues and what leads them to use drugs. They are also given coping skills to help deny their desires to use drugs once they leave rehab.
PHP-Partial Hospitalization Program
Partial hospitalization program is not as restricting as residential treatment. This is a midway point between residential and intensive outpatient treatment. Patients are granted more freedom, and this give them a chance use their new skills and practice self-discipline. They are still under the care of the rehab facility and still receiving counseling, but they are also able to take some responsibility for their own recovery. Recovering addicts need to take this step, particularly as they prepare to reenter their life drug free.
What is Outpatient Treatment?
Outpatient treatment is ideal for those who are dealing with addictions that do not require detox or hospitalization. Patients are able to live at home and participate in their daily life, such as working and raising children, all while attending meeting and counseling sessions.
This is the next step after inpatient, residential treatment or partial hospitalization. Patients in this program must exert an extreme amount of self-control and inner strength. These patients have to face their issue head on and They learn to use their coping skills to help them deal with the stress in their life and turn away from temptation. Outpatient treatment is a lot less expensive for those who aren’t able to afford the full cost.
What is Aftercare?
This is probably one of the most important steps of the rehab journey. This step is an enduring commitment to staying drug free for the rest of their life and the treatment center will help patients on their journey. Unfortunately, 50% of people who make it through rehab will eventually relapse. Therefore, having support when the itch to use comes along, can help recovered addicts stay clean and sober. Once leaving rehab, patients will be told that they need to enroll in a 12-step program, like NA or AA. With the pressures of everyday life and the easy access to drugs in Tempe, former addicts need to stay diligent and use all of the coping skills that they acquired in treatment but most importantly, they need the support of people who understand what they are going through.
What is Sober Living?
Sober living is a halfway home for recovering addicts who aren’t ready to return home and enter a regular life. They can live in quarters with other recovering addicts, who support each other in their continued sobriety. They will also have the rehab staff who will continue to be a support network. Residents of sober living are able to leave the facility whenever they wish, however, there are strict rules that they must adhere to.
You Are in Control of Your Treatment
By deciding to get help, you have taken the first steps towards your recovery. You are not alone in this journey. Although the road ahead of you will be difficult, it is not impossible. It is a frightening and uncertain time in your life but stay strong, there are better days to come.