Jackson is the county seat of Amador County, California. With a population just shy of five thousand, it combines small town charm with the California dream. The city is accessible by both State Route 49 and State Route 88. It has a total area of 3.7 square miles, all of it land, traversed by Jackson Creek.

Jackson grew first as a watering hole for cattle, then as one of the earliest and most durable of the Mother Lode’s hard rock mining areas. The city was named after Colonel Alden Jackson, founded in 1848 around a year-round spring as one of many California gold rush camps, based on the discovery of gold in the Sierra foothills. The camp grew quickly: besides being a popular mining spot, it was also a convenient stopping place on the road from Sacramento to the Southern Mines. By 1850, the population was inching toward two thousand.

The city was almost destroyed by a raging fire in 1862, as were many other gold rush towns along Hwy 49. The city was rebuilt and today forty-two of those Civil War era buildings still stand, on and around Jackson’s Historic Main Street. The town originally bore the name Bottileas given by the Mexican and Chilean miners who were, as the story goes, impressed by the number of bottles dropped at a spring that served as a watering hole for passing miners.

Up to World War II, Amador County’s three main mines – the Eureka, Kennedy, and Argonaut – produced more than half the county’s entire gold production. Half of that came from Jackson.

Jackson is the center of trade and industry in Amador County. The majority of the shopping centers, government offices, and many businesses are located in Jackson and its neighbor town, Martell. Its Main Street showcases antique shops, small boutiques, and bars and is home to many historic buildings. Visitors to the area can enjoy a variety of activities: Daffodil Hill in the spring, the casino at Jackson Rancheria, the Kennedy Tailing Wheels Park and Kennedy Gold Mine, Jackson Pioneer Cemetery, Saint Sava’s Serbian Orthodox Church, Church Street, Lake Tabeaud Picnic Area, underground caves with tours and a variety of outdoor activities.

Though not as well-known as the Napa or Sonoma Valleys, the Shenandoah Valley was once the principal viticultural region of California and today this area is home to over 40 different wineries. Amador County is renowned for its Zinfandel: some of the Zinfandel vineyards in this county are more than 125 years old, including the original Grandpère vineyard, planted with Zinfandel before 1869 and believed to be the oldest Zinfandel vineyard in America.

Drug Abuse

A government study spearheaded by the California Department of Alcohol and Drug Programs and the Center for Applied Research Solutions provided an assessment of the drug-related challenges facing the area. It was found that binge drinking i.e. the consumption of large quantities of alcohol in a short time, is practiced at a significantly higher rate in this area than in national averages.

The area saw a steady increase in the number of admissions into drug and alcohol treatment programs in comparison to the statewide average for California, peaking in 2005 at a rate of 750 admissions per 100,000 residents. The subsequent decrease in admission rates could be a result of differences in the rate of admission into detoxification and non-detoxification treatment programs. (The first refers to short-term services which are often repeated, most common with alcohol and heroin addiction. The latter focuses on rehabilitation.)

As of 2008, methamphetamine addiction was responsible for almost half of all admissions into treatment programs, while alcohol abuse made up a quarter the balance being marijuana, heroin, and cocaine. Since that time, the national opioid epidemic has caused a significant increase in the rate of heroin addiction and overdose.

While arrests for crimes related to these drugs have decreased, the rate of alcohol-related arrests has increased, mostly due to driving under the influence, followed by public drunkenness. The highest arrest rate was for those aged 25 to 34 years.

The United States is facing one of the most widespread drug overdose epidemics in history, largely due to misuse and overabundance of prescription opiates. For alcohol-related fatalities, the most common cause of death is alcoholic liver disease. With drug-related fatalities, the most commonly seen cause of death is accidental drug poisoning or overdosing.

Studies such as the one cited here seek to increase awareness and assist officials in most effectively targeting the most pressing problems in tackling the dangers of addiction. For individuals suffering from substance abuse disorders, help can be found through a number of rehabilitation services.

Addiction treatments may include individual therapy, often using cognitive behavioral therapy. Besides individual therapy, group counseling sessions, support groups, family therapy, and even spiritual practices may be used to help the person form new habits.

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