Augusta is best known for The Masters golf tournament each spring, where the greats in professional golfing converge on the greens of the Augusta National Golf Course in Georgia.
The third largest city in the state of Georgia behind Columbus and Atlanta, Augusta boasts a population of 195,844. The city sits on the Savannah River which forms most of the border between the states of Georgia and South Carolina.
With mild winters, and hot, humid summers, the residents of Augusta find themselves sweating it out during the hotter months of the year. The climate lends Augusta the feel of a subtropical locale, but beyond her lush foliage and lazy Southern river looms a plague that has her citizens in its grip—the plague of drug addiction.
Just like other large cities in the state of Georgia, Augusta is also experiencing a rise in heroin usage in the past few years, particularly from the 18-24-year-old demographic of the population.
Although heroin is not the most common illicit drug used in the city, its use is increasing as evidence by the numbers of reported heroin-related incidents and deaths from overdose.
Below is a list of the drugs that are most widely used and abused in the Augusta area based on the available resources of hospital, treatment clinic and drug hotline records.
The Drug Abuse Problem in Augusta
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 Augusta is not immune to this malady. Alcohol was the most commonly used depressant in the Augusta area. This substance contributed to 50 percent of all known users admitted for treatment. Additionally, when it comes to users of cocaine and marijuana, alcohol was listed as the most commonly used secondary drug.
One of the more prevalent drugs used in Augusta, cocaine use was yet recently reported as decreasing, from 12.8 percent of all drug treatment admissions in 2010, to 10.8 percent in 2011, to 10.5 percent in 2012 and finally to 9.2 percent in the first part of 2013. An achievement to note in the war on drugs is that it was the first time that less than 10 percent of Georgia’s primary substance abuse treatment admissions were for cocaine. In the same time period the user demographic of this substance shows an increase of 25-34-year-olds seeking abuse treatment for cocaine in Augusta, while the number of overall deaths from this insidious drug decreased.
As with cocaine, the reports for number of people seeking treatment for marijuana-related issues also slightly decreased over the past few years, from 17.3 percent in 2011, to 16.3 percent in 2012, and to 16.1 percent in the first part of 2013. Despite the decrease, the percentiles show that it is still one of the more commonly used illicit drugs, not only in Augusta, but the whole state of Georgia. It is feared that potential legalization of this substance will only increase those numbers.
Out of all the drug overdose deaths in Georgia in 2013, the majority was caused by prescription drugs. The overdose deaths in Augusta mimic that state-wide trend. The number of deaths related to prescription drugs has actually tripled since 1999, illustrating the desperate situation the city of Augusta finds itself in concerning the wide-spread availability of these opiates.
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. This shows what a very real epidemic prescription drug abuse has become, and unfortunately, Augusta has no exclusion from this devastating scourge.
Methamphetamine is on the rise in Augusta. According to Richmond County sheriff’s Sgt. Jason Vinson, “Finding people in possession of methamphetamine has continued to rise and has yet to plateau. Over the years I’ve noticed that it’s become more and more of a popular drug in Augusta.” And substantiating his claim is the fact that statistically, treatment admissions continue to increase year after year, while the Georgia State Medical Examiner’s Office reported that deaths from methamphetamine increased in 2013 over 2012.
Find Rehabilitation Facilities in Augusta
When looking for drug rehabilitation programs in Augusta you will find a wide variety of facilities which offer inpatient, outpatient and resident accommodations. Obviously there are many things to consider when deciding what’s best for the person struggling with substance abuse.
A person who does not have a long history of drug abuse will have needs different from someone who has struggled for years with addiction. Usually, the more extreme the case, the longer the person will need to be involved in rehab in order to get a handle on it. So do your homework carefully when considering options. The short-term stay facilities (usually 30-days) are designed to get someone successfully off the drugs through physical detoxification of the drug the person is addicted to. Once this is accomplished, there is also usually a little time spent addressing the emotional and/or mental problems that caused the person to turn to drugs in the first place.
But realize short-term solutions may not be adequate for someone who has been an addict in one form or another for many years of their adolescent and adult life. The longer-stay facilities (90-120-days) are designed to allow a good amount of time for a trained medical team to get an extreme addict successfully through the physically painful, and in most cases, extremely dangerous, withdrawals experienced when quitting a drug. If you only allow a career addict 30 days to move through this process, the result is usually no stabilization of his or her physical state, and no time to focus on the core of the addiction, namely the mental and emotional reasons the person had need for the drugs in the first place. This lack of adequate time would be a recipe for failure so make sure you consult a professional who can help guide you in finding a facility.
But whether short-term or long-term, there are plenty of rehabilitation programs in Augusta for those seeking treatment. Do your homework, make sure to acquire the necessary assistance in choosing the program that will best suit the person’s needs, and then take action—don’t wait. Hesitation in getting a person the treatment they so desperately need can cause a loss of life, and no family wants to live with that heartbreak.
To get you started in your search, below is a list of several rehabilitation centers in Augusta.