Treatment in West Seneca, New York
Erie County’s West Seneca is a modest-sized city in New York’s upstate region. Its present population is approximately 47,000 and it is considered a suburb of Buffalo. West Seneca is centrally located within Erie County and, along with Orchard Park and Humburg, form the “Southtowns,” a popular, middle-class suburban cluster. The total area of West Seneca, New York is 21.41 square miles, of which .06 square miles is water.
According to the most recent Census, the demographic breakdown of West Seneca is as follows: 98% Caucasian, with the remaining 2% a mix of African American, Hispanic, Native American, Asian, Native American and Pacific Islander. The median income for a family is just under $60,000, which is on line with the national average but unusually low for a suburb of this nature.
West Seneca has produced several notable public personalities over the years. They include the late journalist Tim Russert, pro volleyball player Matt Anderson, renowned painter Charles E Burchfield, NFL wide receiver Jeremy Kelley, pro hockey players Brian Rolff and Lee Stempniak, and Robby Takac, bassist for the Goo Goo Dolls.
Downtown Buffalo proper is considered a cultural hub of the Southtowns, about a 12-minute westbound drive from West Seneca. In West Seneca itself, the 29-acre Charles E. Burchfield Nature and Art Center is a favorite for local families and visitors. The complex includes numerous gardens and trails, playgrounds for kids, and an outdoor amphitheater along the Buffalo Creek, along with its prominent art displays.
West Seneca houses several shopping centers, including the highly-trod Southgate Plaza. Perhaps the city’s favorite restaurant is Schwabi’s, which has been operating since 1942. The restaurant is best-known for its beef on a rack, which was featured in an episode of Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations. Another favorite is the Mayer Bros. Cider Mill, which began operations in 1852 and is still family owned.
However, as West Seneca is a town within New York State, a HIDTA (High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area) stronghold as defined by the U.S. DOJ (Department of Justice), the suburban area has the usual share of issues related to substance abuse and trafficking.
As with much of New York State, pot and alcohol are the most frequently abused of all substances by high school and college students. The city, though, is considered a “hot spot” for harder drug issues, most notably heroin, and an epidemic that has been on a consistent upswing since 2010. In 2018, health leaders are estimating Erie County drug abuse deaths to exceed 600.
Unlike some other areas in the country, however, West Seneca regularly presents free educational forums on the drug-related dangers facing their community. Further, the city has implemented a drug drop-off program, no questions asked.
The efforts are finally beginning to bear fruit but, unfortunately, there are still gulfs to go.
Drug Crime & Statistics in New Jersey
For a suburban area, West Seneca’s drug scourge is considered particularly notable:
- A 2016 bust yielded “large quantities of powdered cocaine, crack cocaine, and heroin.”
- The local Attorney General’s Organized Crime Task Force works regularly with the New York State Police’s Community Narcotics Enforcement Team (C-NET) to undertake regular sting operations among Erie County drug suspects.
- The city is facing a growing heroin epidemic, for which federal funds are being utilized to combat. (NOTE: Any region which falls within a HIDTA-identified state is eligible for federal funding for purpose of combating drug issues.)
- West Seneca’s opioid epidemic is considered its fastest-growing substance-related problem.
- Heroin arrives into the community, in part from New York City drug mills on a weekly basis. This is a common practice among New York mills, who distribute and traffick in the state’s various boroughs and smaller cities.
- In December of 2017, West Seneca police seized more than $100,000 worth of drugs from a local resident. On a tip, they had found 35 pounds of marijuana, more than two kilos of cocaine, $22,000 in cash and various drug paraphernalia.
- Erie County zip code 14224 is considered to have among the highest rate of opioid deaths of all U.S. suburbs.
- The delivery of so-called “date rape drugs,” such as ecstasy, have been increasing year-to-year.
- Multiple drug and DUI arrests were made at an unannounced checkpoint in September of 2017. Most of the offenders had pot or alcohol in their system at the time of arrest.
- Driving under the influence of alcohol while a child aged 15 or younger rides along as a passenger is a first-offense felony. Leandra’s Law was codified in 2009. The illegal blood alcohol content level as defined in the law is 0.08%. On a yearly basis in West Seneca, arrests of drivers in violation of Leandra’s Law has increased year to year, averaging nearly 40 arrests annually from 2015-2017.
- As with much of the state, local politics continue to conflict with evolving federal laws as it regards the legalization of marijuana. Pot continues to be produced both indoors and outdoors, in widespread efforts to take advantage of the medical marijuana accessibility. Exploitation of pot laws are expected to remain an ongoing issue for the immediate future, as misuse among addicts and casual users is frequent.
In terms of abuse statistics:
- Opioids, cocaine, and heroin remain the city’s most commonly abused hard drugs.
- In 2017, nearly 25% of total West Babylon drug treatment admissions were related to alcohol. Other statistics for treatment admissions were as follows: 12% opioids (prescription painkillers), 12% heroin, 11% cocaine, 6% pot, 6% other drugs, and the rest a mix of one or more drugs.
- These admissions have remained consistent since 2016.
- 39% of all car crash deaths in West Seneca are alcohol-related. 36% of drinkers participate in binge-drinking.
- Accidental drug poisoning, typically from painkillers or heroin, is the most common cause of substance-related deaths.
- A 2017 article in The Buffalo News identified “the face of Erie County’s opioid death toll” as “young, white, male and suburban.” Indeed, as with so much of the rest of the U.S., painkillers are being taken from family members and either trafficked or abused by the offender. Of the more than 1000 Erie County residents who have died of opioid-related drug overdoses from 2012 – November of 2017, white males between the ages of 20 and 40 comprised the vast majority of victims.
Drug Crime Addressed in New York
Penalties on the books for possession in New York State include:
- For a Class A-1 Felony (possession of eight or more ounces of a narcotic) may be sentenced from 8 to 20 years, and/or a fine up to $100,000.
- For possessions of smaller amounts (Classe B to E Felonies), sentences can range from 1.5 to 9 years, or fines up to $30,000.
- Unlawful possession of marijuana subjects the offender to imprisonment of no more than 15 days, or a fine in the amount of $250.
- Possession, regardless of for personal use, or intent to sell, traffic, distribute, or manufacture.
- Conspiracy regarding any of the above.
- Depending on the nature of the offense, other punishments can include imprisonment, seizure of property as part of forfeiture proceedings, loss of driver’s license and more.
Note that New York State has some of the toughest of all drug penalties, with little consideration for initial offenses.
Pre Intake Resources
Pre-Intake very simply means “prior to intake.” No longer does one need to check themselves into a treatment center without being prepared. The Recover is a perfect example of an internet resource that can be a great friend in this regard.
To determine the extent and nature of one’s addiction, pre-intake questions may include the following:
“How long have you been using?” “Do you believe you have a problem?” “Do you think others who know you believe you have a substance-related problem?” “Have others confronted you with questions related to substance abuse?” “Do you ever use alone?” “Have you ever substituted one drug for another, thinking one particular drug was the problem?” “Does the thought of running out of drugs terrify you?” “Have you ever been in a jail, a hospital, or a drug rehabilitation center because of your using?”
You can find pre-intake sample applications online. In this case, as with any other self-diagnostic tool, the questions as asked are exploratory only. You must speak to a trained and licensed professional for any true diagnosis. Still, such online tools such as a pre-intake questionnaire can be extremely useful. If you can honestly answer those questions, you may be validated, or you may dislike your responses. If you were drawn to the tool, likely both will apply. Regardless, consider your results, and then take necessary action.
There are pros and cons with online resources such as these, particularly when it comes to completely basing your treatment decisions on your own responses. That would be a negative, as remember, such questions are guidelines only without a trained professional to analyze your answers. Regardless of whether such questions are based on true-life examples of treatment center queries (they usually are), you may not be the best arbiter of your responses. Most especially if you are under the influence of any drug, or alcoholic drink. On the positive side, if you can be truthful with your answers, such online questions will certainly provide a glimpse into your condition, and the need for help.
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: What is holding you back from getting help? 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? 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.
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 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 mindfulness as possible.
Outpatient Treatment Resources
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.
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.
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.
Remember this as you move forward in your treatment. There are countless reasons why one would fail, in this or any other environment. Laziness, rigidity, intimidation.
But … 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. But you can do this. You can reclaim your life, as none of us are defined by our addictions.
Aftercare and Sober Living Resources
Sober living may be the final step in your formal treatment plan before returning home, but treatment never really ends. Sober living houses provide the interim environment between rehab and mainstreaming back to your natural environment. The reason for the initial formation of sober houses was simple: a person in recovery frequently needed a safe and supportive place to stay, during the vulnerability of early recovery, prior to returning home.
Sober houses are also highly-structured, and most residents are referred to a sober living environment from a rehab center. Requirements and rules are strict, and the list usually includes:
- No drugs or alcohol on the premises
- No violence
- No overnight or sleepover guests, not even family
- Commitment to random drug testing
- Involvement in a community-related program
- Acceptance by a peer group
- Acceptance of advice from treatment professionals
- Respect for the rules of the house
- Following all directions
- No swearing
- No stealing
- No sexual activity between residents
- As part of a recovering community, if you see or hear any resident breaking the rules of the community, they must be reported immediately to appropriate staff
- Anyone on prescribed medication must inform the house manager upon admittance
- Residents must attend all sober house meetings
- Residents must submit to drug and/or alcohol tests upon request
- Rooms must be clean at all times
- Chores must be completed without argument
- Curfew must be respected.
Many of the above rules are enforced with a Zero Tolerance Policy. Meaning, if any of these rules are broken even once, you risk being kicked out of your sober living home. If you had experienced structure during your prior treatment to this point, you should be in good shape.
Remember, your treatment is a process. Skipping time, or skipping steps, does neither you nor your community any favors.
Remember, West Seneca, New York has this much in common with any other city in the country: Drug issues abound, as do recovery options. The doors are open. Will you walk through?