Chowchilla is a pleasant city in Madera County, in the state of California.  The city’s population was 18,720 at the 2010 United States Census Bureau, up from 11,127 at the 2000 U.S. Census. Chowchilla is located just 15 miles northwest of Madera, at an elevation of 240 feet.  Chowchilla is actually the principal city of the Madera–Chowchilla Metropolitan Statistical Area too.  The city is known for being the location of two California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation facilities, the Central California Women’s Facility and Valley State Prison.  These prisons offer much of the employment in Chowchilla.

Drug and Alcohol Abuse Here

Sadly, drug and alcohol abuse and addiction have made a big problem in Chowchilla.  There is often a lot of depression in this city.  Many of the locals work in the prisons, which although they are good paying jobs, they can be quite depressing.  For some statistics on the substance abuse in Chowchilla, in California, and in the United States in general:

• The NSDUH reports that cocaine use declined among Americans over the age of 12, from about 2.3 million people in 2003 to approximately 1.5 million people in 2014.  This was one of the only drugs that actually declined in total use.

• In 2014, 23.5 million Americans aged 12 or older met the criteria for a substance use disorder, (or addiction) in the previous year.  That number jumped to almost twenty-five million the next year.

• A pretty big substance abuse problem that has come to the forefront of the addiction crisis in the United States that was never a real issue before has been with pregnant mothers who are addicted to drugs and alcohol. This may yet be one of the worst crimes that a drug or alcohol addicted individual can commit. When a pregnant mother abuses drugs and alcohol she is not only destroying her life but she is also destroying the life of an unborn child. This is a particularly difficult incident too because it is not easy to rehabilitate a pregnant mother from drug or alcohol addiction without risking the life of the child. Sure enough, though, there are several hundred thousand mothers in the United States who are either currently pregnant or who have a very small and young infant child and the mother is currently experiencing addiction.

• Sadly, drug and alcohol abuse and addiction is now a much bigger problem in our schools than it ever was before.  Studies show that about one out of every school-age adolescent have tried a hard, illegal, street drug by the time he or she turns eighteen.  One out of every five such individuals tries prescription drugs for abusive purposes before completing school or before turning eighteen.  About fifty percent of them abuse marijuana or abuse alcohol before they turn eighteen.

A Solution

It’s pretty clear that addiction is a crisis in Chowchilla, and it has been for a few years now.  Statistically speaking, because the city is pretty small and there are so many addicts living there, from sheer numbers alone every resident knows someone who is addicted, and every other resident is related to an addict.

But how do you know for sure if your loved one is abusing drugs or alcohol in Chowchilla?  You need to know for certain before you proceed with rehab as an option, but they won’t always be necessary.  There are signs of addiction, though, and if many of these are seen then that’s a good indicator of substance abuse.

Common signs and symptoms of drug use, alcohol misuse, general substance abuse, and addiction:

• Feelings of helplessness and hopelessness
• Loss of interest in daily activities
• Inability to experience pleasure
• Appetite or weight changes
• Sleep changes
• Loss of energy
• Strong feelings of worthlessness or guilt
• Concentration problems
• Anger, physical pain, and reckless behavior (especially in men)
• Feelings of euphoria or extreme irritability
• Unrealistic, grandiose beliefs
• Decreased need for sleep
• Increased energy
• Rapid speech and racing thoughts
• Impaired judgment and impulsivity
• Hyperactivity
• Anger or rage
• Excessive tension and worry
• Feeling restless or jumpy
• Irritability or feeling “on edge”
• Racing heart or shortness of breath
• Nausea, trembling, or dizziness
• Muscle tension, headaches
• Trouble concentrating
• Insomnia

If these signs are seen, or even if just a few of them are seen, then it’s time to start planning for rehab.  Talk to the addict if you think he or she will be willing to go to rehab, if not, start planning an intervention.  This is something that needs to move forward quickly, as Chowchilla is already struggling badly enough as it is with an addiction micro-crisis.  With inpatient, residential rehab for all who are addicted in Chowchilla, positive change can finally be made in this city for good, and the city can get back on the level of sobriety that it had before addiction struck around the turn of the century.

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