The city of Athens, known as a college town, is located in the northeastern part of Georgia and is home to the University of Georgia. Founded in 1785, the first buildings of the university were made from logs and officially held the first classes in the year of 1801. The area surrounding the school was aptly named Athens after the city that was home to the academy of Plato.
Only the sixth largest city in Georgia, Athens occupies the smallest geographical area of any city in the state, so you could consider it a big, bustling college town with a commerce that is built around the support of its collegiate population. Indeed, Athens is known for its spirited student community. U.S. News rated Athens as among the best college towns in the country. But a university town like this, with 26,000 in its student body, is unfortunately a prime place for the epidemic drug use cutting a swath through the cities of America to take hold.
On the rise in Athens, Georgia is the wide-spread use of prescription drugs. In the past few years, use of these prescription drugs have also begun to fuel a path toward the increasing use of heroin, because heroin is cheaper and easier to access than the more expensive prescriptions. According to local social-service and medical authorities, abuse of opiates—in particular intravenous heroin—is rapidly increasing in Athens and its surrounding counties.
Below is an overview of the prevalent drugs, illicit and otherwise, being used in the Athens area, with additional information on where you can turn if someone you know is struggling with alcohol or drug addiction
The Drug Abuse Problem in Athens
Here are the major threats to Athens in regards to drug or alcohol addiction.
Although many don’t consider alcohol an actual drug, there is no denying it is a substance that is highly abused in our society, and the city of Athens is not immune to this malady. Alcohol was the most commonly used depressant in the Athens area. This substance contributed to 50 percent of all known users admitted for treatment.
When someone drinks alcohol to a point that their life spins out of control and they start to drop their responsibilities, or take dangerous risks in order to have a drink, these are signs that person has started to abuse alcohol.
As with the rest of the United States, cocaine is one of the more common drugs used in Athens. Even so, in the past few years reported cocaine-related issues have actually been decreasing in the city. A small consolation when you consider that it is only second to alcohol when it comes to the most used drug in Georgia.
Cocaine is known as a stimulant, so when someone is using cocaine they can appear very excited and full of an unusual amount of energy. The effects of cocaine are short-lived so you may see an abuser disappear frequently to take more of the drug. When you see signs of nosebleeds you know that the habit has really started to ravage them physically and they must seek immediate medical care.
Marijuana is still one of the most commonly used illicit drugs, second only behind cocaine. But just as with cocaine, the reports for the number of people seeking treatment for marijuana-related issues in Athens has also slightly decreased over the past few years—though that trend may change as the potential for the legalization of marijuana is considered.
The symptoms of marijuana use are some of the easier ones to see, including red eyes, dry mouth, increased appetite, paranoia, anxiety and depression. The symptoms tend to be residual and get worse when the substance is used long-term.
According to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation prescription drugs caused the majority of deaths in the state of Georgia in 2013. The overdose deaths in Athens mimic that state-wide trend. Overdose deaths from prescription drug use have tripled since 1999 and are becoming an epidemic.
According to Andrea Gielen, Director of the John Hopkins Center for Injury Research and Policy, fifty Americans die each day from prescription drug overdoses. More than 6 million suffer from prescription drug abuse disorders.
According to available reports, Oxycodone was the prescription drug most widely used in Athens as is the case with many other major cities in Georgia.
In the early part of the millennium, the country started experiencing a rise in prescription opiate abuse. Although those drugs are still very much in use, as stated earlier it spawned a movement toward heroin, which is much cheaper and easier to acquire. Since 2011 there has been a 300% increase in heroin use according to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation. A young drug abuser admitted to treatment told an authority, “heroin is everywhere,” in Athens. Another woman sent to jail for heroin use said it would take her 5 minutes to find a heroin dealer on the streets of the city.
Those unfortunate enough to experience a heroin addiction will find that the addiction requires constant feeding in order not to experience withdrawal from the drug which addicts call “dope sickness,” and consists of nausea and vomiting.
Methamphetamine is on the rise in Athens. A highly addictive substance, it’s commonly known as “the most dangerous drug on earth,” due to its availability, ease of use, and the ability to manufacture it from ordinary household products.
Methamphetamine use is also so dangerous because of the damage it causes to brain cells which is comparable to damage caused by strokes or Alzheimer’s disease. The long-term effects are extreme paranoia, the delusion of insects under the skin which leads to obsessive scratching, violent behavior, extreme anorexia, psychosis, stroke, hallucinations and severe insomnia. This is a dangerous drug indeed.
Find Rehabilitation Facilities in Athens
There are different types of drug rehabilitation programs. The type of treatment chosen and how long the person will have to be in rehabilitation has everything to do with how severe the drug or alcohol addiction is. The first step is to speak with an unbiased professional who can give you insight into what it will actually take to kick the addiction you or a loved one are experiencing. They will consider the length of addiction, the particular substances involved, and the physical and emotional condition of the person, among other things.
Once you have an understanding of what type of program you are in need of, you can then start your search to find the center that will give the person the best chance of success.