Coalinga is a city in Fresno County and is also the western San Joaquin Valley, in central California. Coalinga was formerly known as Coaling Station A, Coalingo, and Coalinga Station. Because it was an unincorporated, rural area for so long its name tended to change with the times. The population was 13,380 at the 2010 census, up from 11,668 at the 2000 census. It is the site of both Pleasant Valley State Prison and Coalinga State Hospital.
Today, the city of Coalinga has a thriving economy and a good infrastructure. The city’s main industries are agriculture, oil, and incarceration, (a major jail is in the area). The city is home to the Coalinga Oil Field, operated by Chevron and Aera Energy; the Guijarral Hills Oil Field; Pleasant Valley State Prison; and Coalinga State Hospital. Though the city is not a big one, it does have a strong economy and a good, sound funding within its own community.
Coalinga is also known for being the home to California’s first new mental health hospital in more than 50 years: a 1,500-bed facility built specifically to house sexually violent predators. Coalinga State Hospital opened in September of 2005 and has also contributed to the local economy.
Drug and Alcohol Addiction in Coalinga
Drug and alcohol addiction have begun to have a damaging effect on different parts of the nation, and California by far has been one of the worst affected by these changes. Drug and alcohol addiction and the general crisis of substance abuse has been a negatively impacting aspect of society in recent years.
The small towns of California have for some time been experiencing an influx of drug and alcohol addiction and of substance abuse in general. These issues have gone on and on and have worsened time and time again as the years have gone by. If nothing is done about these concerns then it is generally thought that they will probably get worse and worse long before they get any better. Coalinga in particular has been severely impacted by these problems, with the city’s good economy and relatively untapped resource of the city’s youth who have almost all never experienced drug abuse. When there is a city with a good economy and no drug abuse, it is a perfect target for drug dealers and traffickers. This is exactly the case in Coalinga.
Substance Abuse in Coalinga
Substance abuse has extensive effects and creates extensive problems in multiple different arenas of American life. In the last several years a cruel trend of addiction and substance abuse in general has been for it to be extended outwards from major metro areas and into other more rural towns and communities. What has this meant? The effect that this has created has been that these towns and individual communities have suddenly been hit with drug trafficking addiction and trafficking the likes of which has never been seen before in these areas. Small towns that never struggled with addiction before suddenly were suffering with addiction crisis and substance abuse problems, and no one knew how to deal with these issues.
What happens when a community, a small town, a rural area, or even a mid-sized city experiences sudden addiction problems? Certainly nothing good. It usually takes a few years from the time when addiction makes a name for itself in a city before the prevention of the city catches up to it and can even start to make a difference. Coalinga is only one of many towns in this state that has been experiencing such issues and difficulties.
So what can you do about it? If you or someone you know suffers with addiction, then there is certainly something that you can do about it to make it less serious and less damaging of a crisis. The first thing you can do is make absolutely certain that there is an actual addiction present. For some indicators:
• Sudden change in friends or locations. The abuser’s friends or hangout spots may change. For example, a teen may start hanging out with a different crowd of friends. You may notice where they hang out may change as well. They may suddenly think their old friends are no longer “cool.” They also may start to break curfew or lie about where they are hanging out.
• Increased interpersonal or legal problems. Individuals abusing substances may start having more interpersonal problems, i.e., increased arguments with parents, friends, or other authority figures. They may begin to get in legal trouble for shoplifting or other crimes and cited for possession or for underage drinking.
• Change in personality or attitude. This one can be a little tricky. Given the raging hormones of teenagers, personality and attitudes can change regularly. In someone abusing substances, this will look a little different. The mood swings would be unlike typical teenage attitudes. Depending on the substance being abused, you may begin to notice marked hyperactivity or extreme happiness followed by a “crash” where the mood becomes just the opposite. The individual may appear very lethargic or more irritable than usual. Thinking and behaviors may become irrational and unpredictable.
• Neglecting responsibilities. If your teen is normally very responsible and there is a change in that behavior, this may be a sign. Substance abuse often begins to take precedence over other things that were once deemed important. As a result, responsibilities are often neglected and the teen becomes more and more irresponsible over time.
• Using despite knowing it is dangerous. Most teens are very aware of the negative effects and possible consequences of substance use. If your teen is using despite this knowledge, this is a sign of abuse.
If these signs are present in you or someone you know, then an addiction is present and it’s time to move on to addiction rehabilitation. With proper rehabilitation anyone who is addicted to anything can be freed from the crisis once and for all. This more than anything else will be the salvation of Coalinga.
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