Gainesville is part of the 29 Georgia counties where the opioidaddiction rates outpace the US average.  In Gainesville, lethal opioid overdoses haveincreased 148% with projections for even more losses of life in the comingyear.  Rural areas like Gainesville areregions where the national opioid crisis is reaching its peak. The crisis hasbecome so severe that the Northeast Georgia Medial Center has become the firstin Georgia to offer immediate recovery support to overdose cases that comethrough the emergency room.

  By attackingthe problem at the point of non-lethal overdose, hospital officials hope tolead individuals down a path of recovery before it’s too late.Efforts by Gainesvilleto Take Opioids out of CirculationThe Gainesville Police Department has teamed up with theNational Association of Drug Diversion Investigators to provide drop boxes inthe lobby of the Gainesville Justice Center. Here families can properly disposeof leftover prescription mediations so they do not end up on the street. Thedrop box has helped remove over twenty pounds of unused and expiredmedications. Opioids prescribed for pain and no longer used in a household caneasily fall into the hands of teens at home.  The Georgia Legislature has also increased funding forsubstance misuse prevention programs, which focus primarily on legalprescription drugs that are abused. Beyond educating families and teens inGeorgia, the prescription drug monitoring program will increase the scrutinyand records-keeping of drugs prescribed by doctors and hospitals.  Addiction and abuse often starts with a legalprescription.

 Opioids in the GainesvilleArea Part of a State CrisisAlready, deaths from opioids in Georgia has exceeded deathsfrom motor vehicle crashes. This places Georgia in the top eleven states withthe highest number of opioid overdose deaths. Opioids gaining high usage in theGainesville area and the many of the same drugs leading to the most overdoses throughoutthe state of Georgia and the US overall.  FentanylConsidered deadlier than heroin, fentanyl, quickly buildstolerance levels among users.  With apotency 50-100 times greater them morphine, Fentanyl has become an extremelydangerous drug in Georgia. The suppression of breathing, the first indicator ofa Fentanyl overdose, can easily lead to death. Fentanyl overdoses are one ofthe most common in Gainesville.

Hydrocodone andOxycodoneOften used in combination with alcohol and other opioids, hydrocodoneand oxycodone have become two of the most abused prescription drugs in thecountry and two of the most heavily abused opioids in Gainesville.  Initially prescribed as a pain reliever,hydrocodone’s addictive nature quickly converts many users to low cost heroineto maintain a similar high after their legal prescriptions can no longer berefilled.Other Deadly Opioidsin Gainesville, Georgia Opioid abuse may expand beyond an initial legally prescribeddrug to other drugs within the opioid family to obtain the necessary high.Users may switch to more readily available prescription opioids on the street,which can be taken in enormous doses to compensate for built-up tolerances.

·        Methadone·        Dilaudid·        Morphine·        Vicodin·        Opana·        Percocet·        Demerol The Hope of NaloxoneThe Gainesville City Council has made considerable effortsto curb overdose deaths using the anti-opioid drug Naloxone.  Also known as Narcan, this powerful andeffective medication can reverse the potential fatality of an opioid overdose.The availability of Naloxone offers hope to first responders and parentspresent at the scene of an overdose. As overdoses now even occur in Gainesvilleschools, educators are being supplied with the counteractive drug to save thelives of kids. The Gainesville City Council has already approved the purchaseof Naloxone kits which will be provided to law enforcement who are often thefirst to witness an opioid overdose in progress. The drug gives opioid addictsa second chance toward recovery.  Gainesville, GeorgiaRehab and RecoveryThe task of combating drug addiction in the Gainesville areainvolves both community awareness of the severity of the problem and dedicated facilitiesto assist the addicted toward a path of recovery.

The process of treatmentrequires the dedication of the addicted to get well with both clinical andpsychological support to help prevent relapse.  When is Opioid Usagean Addiction?The point from which opioid use becomes an addiction usuallyoccurs with the rise of numerous physical and behavioral indicators.The physical warning signs indicate that pain treatment withopioids may be reaching addiction levels:•             Longperiods of drowsiness •             Confusion•             Repressedor slowed breathing•             Blackoutsand sudden unconsciousness•             Regular constipationOther social and behavioral indicators may be a clear signthat opioid use is becoming an addiction:Seeking out new physicians after your family doctor refusesto prescribe more medication-also known as doctor shopping, is a commonpractice to meet drug cravings, a telltale sign that opioid addiction is takinghold.  Social withdrawal- has addiction takes hold, focus on familyand friends diminishes. A focus on a personal relationship with the drugsurpasses all over social and personal interactions.Financial issues- an increasing use of opioids becomes financiallycostly and indicates a serious opioid problem Understanding theSteps Toward RecoveryThe recovery process begins with an assessment of theseverity of the addiction. Clinical screenings can determine the risk factors,especially among those taking opioids for chronic pain.

Because treatment ofsevere pain may include a legal opioid prescription from a doctor, thepotential for addiction increases.  Initial assessments look for the following criteria: 1.      Crisis interventionThe severity of the addiction may be soacute as to require immediate intervention which may lead a medical professionalto advance treatment as quickly as possible. 2.

      Patient educationPatients may understand that they have aproblem, but may not see their addiction as a treatable disease. Recoverycenters help patients understand the recovery process, the risks of withdrawaland most importantly seeing opioid addiction as a condition that can bereversed with their commitment to recovery.3.      Determining if the patient is ready for changeThe path to recovery is filled with obstacles.The risk of relapse looms every day over someone battling addiction.  Depression and social pressures push therecovering in the opposite direction as they seek relief from personalstresses. Gainesville recovery centers will evaluate if that patient is readyfor the road to recovery.

In Gainesville, the treatment for opioid addictionhas doubled year over year, so the availability of treatment may depend on anincoming patient’s authentic personal commitment to getting well. For those whoare ready, the long, hard journey includes positive and meaningful support. The Detox ProcessThe absence of opioids in the blood causes the body to gointo a form of initial shock. Symptoms may include severe nausea and muscleaches, difficulty sleeping, fever, sweating, extreme agitation and anxiety. Thesesymptoms may begin within 6-12 hours from abstaining from common opioids. Recoverycenters will monitor the process to ensure the detox is occurring safely andthat there are no medical emergencies.  Gainesvillerecovery centers are prepared for this severe initial withdrawal episode and dotheir best to keep patients comfortable and to help them maintain the courageto persist through the ordeal.  Within 72 hours and into the weeks that follow the earlydetox, patients will continue to experience physical symptoms ranging fromstomach cramps to vomiting.

During this time, the deeper psychological factorscaused by addiction may take hold. Drug cravings become more intense and deep depressionmay lure patients toward relapse. This time frame becomes the most common forrecovering addicts to fall back into addiction and becomes a critical time forrecovery centers to provide concentrated care.                 What Inpatient CareProvides: The Long Road to Recovery A combination of individualand group counseling help patients through the long recovery process. Valuable12-step programs are the cornerstone of addiction therapy and help individualsheal psychologically and refocus their minds away from the powerful grip ofaddiction to a positive outlook on life. Under these controlled conditions, an individual seeking recovery canbreak away from both the sources of addiction as well as any negative relationshipsthat maintain addictive behavior. The Impact of Personal Transformation andResidential Treatment FacilitiesInpatient residential treatment may extend from thirty to ninetydays, depending on the individual.

 Long-term residential care primarily helps patients re-see the worldthrough non-addictive eyes.  Residentialtreatment centers create a protective ecosystem of caring that helps patient rebuilda positive outlook.  Through long-termtreatment, patients regain contacts with the community, family and friends thatwere lost to addiction. The process reestablishes a patient’s presence in theworld without dependence. Partial HospitalizationReaffirms NormalcyPHP, or partial hospitalization programs, offer supportivecare without removing them from the routines of daily life. PHP options may actas a follow up to residential treatment. PHP becomes the next step towardlearning to live in the world without opioids.

 Having the option to stay at a supportive facility as neededwhile also continuing their treatment outside of the facility is also helpfulfor those in the Gainesville area struggling with a milder form of addictionknown as functioning addiction. Functioning addicts may find addiction is ofpersonal concern or may have caused personal issues, yet may have not become sosevere as to interfere with daily responsibilities such as work. This abilityto function daily, however does not diminish the seriousness of the addictionand treatment is essential to prevent the dependency from causing the addictionto increase in severity.Intensive OutpatientTreatments Build Coping SkillsAddiction treatment is more than achieving abstinence.

Drugaddiction trains the mind to rely on substances such as opioids to live life.All treatment programs need to focus on reversing that outlook.  Intensive outpatient programs, or IOPs, help patientsrelearn how to function without addictive substances. Intensive outpatient sessionsare generally three hours a day, three days a week in group settings. Some ofthe most important skills learned by recovering individuals in intensiveoutpatient programs is how to identity the potential for relapse.

Personal andsocial pressures are often the causes that lead many into addiction from thebeginning. It is usually these very same issues that continue to drive theimpulse to usage long after treatment.  The ability to cope with failed relationships,difficulties at work, or simply everyday stresses that most people have learnedto manage are never learned by those addicted. It is through intensiveoutpatient programs that patients learn to recognize their vulnerabilities sothey do not slip back into drug use. The Power of GroupTherapy in Long Term AftercareThe long healing process after addiction becomes primarilypsychological. After all, addiction embraces a life of loneliness.

The value ofgroups in the healing process is to shatter the solitary shell of addiction andkeep a healing individual engaged with others. Group settings often becomessome of the strongest bonds formed and lead to long-term, valued relationshipsamong participants. A group session continues to help the recovering to identifysubstance triggers. Is it family? Work? Certain stresses or memories willcontinue drive the impulse to relapse. Groups also help individuals reaffirm life.

Addiction erodesgratitude and causes selfishness to thrive. Nurturing a healing individual’sconnections to life, whether it be loved ones or positive activities thatexisted before addiction. Reaffirming the positive becomes a way for recoveringindividuals to focus on other healthy aspects of life other than drugs.  Learning to love hobbies, work andrelationships again is part of the long-term healing process that group therapyintroduces. Knowing you are not alone. By far the most insignificant advantagethat group therapy brings to recovering individuals, is the idea that theproblem of addiction is not solely their own.

Sharing experiences and seeing away free of addiction becomes a supportive team effort. Finding Rehab Help inthe Gainesville, Georgia AreaMany recovery centers offer both impatient and outpatienttreatments for opioids as well as many other types of addiction. Look for helpand hope with substance abuse including:·        Alcohol Abuse·        Contain·        Crack Cocaine·        Methadone Addiction·        Heroin·        Marijuana Dependency

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