lives can be turned upside down by addiction to drugs or alcohol. Suddenly we
can’t manage our relationships and day-to-day affairs, including holding down a
job, or staying in school. All attempts to clean up and dry up are in vain. Addiction
is not confined to one group. Addicts range from the destitute to the pillars
of society, and from children to seniors. Anyone is fair game.
Savannah Drug Crimes
is a growing problem in Savannah, GA, with its population of just over 200 000.
According to statistics, about 52 000 of adults are
heavy drinkers; and about 20 000 are said to use illicit drugs. Of the drug
users, just over 3,000 use marijuana, about 2,500, heroin; about 1,800, crack
cocaine; 650, non-heroin opiates; and 600, ordinary cocaine.
Numbers keep going up. From 2012 to 2014, there were 82 opioid overdoses in Chatham
County alone. The National Institute on
Drug Abuse defines Opioids as medicines that reduce intense pain. They include
drugs with a morphine content, as well as Percocet and OxyContin. Abuse may
occur when they are over-subscribed by a doctor and subsequently abused by the
patient. If they become too expensive, they may be obtained on the streets. Heroin
has been defined as a cheaper and more accessible alternative that leads to the
same type of response. There seems to be a surge in teen use. Teens feel they
can safely get a high with these drugs because they come from pharmacies. Some
have been known to abuse supplies prescribed to their parents.
2016, each month, police were investigating about two drug overdose deaths in
Savannah’s Chatham County, alone. So worrying were these figures that in early
2017, police appealed for interventionist measures from friends and relatives
of drug abusers. While no one drug could be singled out for the overdose surge,
it was noted that heroin, cocaine and prescription drugs featured highly.
How the Drug Trade Happens
illegal drug trade often happens in Downtown Savannah, and on the Southside. Drug
dealers even make house deliveries in the more prestigious suburbs of Savannah.
Police say most of the cocaine available on the streets comes up from Miami by private
or commercial vehicles that use the interstates. The drugs are often hidden
among legal products, or inside secret compartments within the vehicles.
burglaries and robberies are not unusual in Savannah, with rival drug dealers
conducting home invasion robberies against each other. In 2000, coke offenders (55 percent) were the
highest drug offenders in Georgia, generally.
This surpassed the national average of 44 percent. Costs across program
areas including health, justice and education took up about 10 percent of the
state’s total expenditure. An additional problem has been loss of productivity.
not so difficult to get treatment for substance abuse nowadays in Savannah and its
neighborhood dwellings such as Riverside, and the Isle of Hope. An assortment
of treatment facilities is available. You are taken through all the stages of
addiction recovery and then to living in sobriety afterwards.
can be quite daunting to choose the one treatment option that exactly fits your
needs. Many have recovered successfully with the type of care that suited their
needs, when they went the course and took part in awareness programs during
aftercare. To make the best recovery, you need to clearly consider what is
During intake, lots of information is collated. A series of general and
personal questions are asked to determine severity and the right kind of
treatment. Medical history is required because detoxification is different for
everyone. You don’t want something that doesn’t work for you. Blood and alcohol
tests are also given. The information collected is then used to make a detailed
package for you, the client, and to ascertain your progress from then on.
might consider this option if you favor a cheaper sobriety route that allows
you to balance treatment with your job or with school. It’s affordable and it’s
flexible. Therapy sessions can be adjusted to fit in with your commitments. You
can have sessions in the evening or at lunch. There are different forms of
outpatient care, though. One option, the Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP)
does not require you to undergo detox. However, you can only enroll into this
program when you’ve been clinically and medically passed for it.
Inpatient or Residential
Treatment Centers (RTC)
you have other complex issues, you might consider residential treatment which
is more regulated and focused and allows for close monitoring. Perhaps you suffer
from depression, anxiety and other mental disorders. Maybe you have other
concurrent conditions such as heart disease and asthma. Or perhaps you’ve tried
rehab but keep relapsing and can’t keep your addiction under control. There are
various levels of inpatient treatment, too. Perhaps you would prefer the
Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP). This allows you to be in hospital about
20 hours each week and never overnight.
Sober Living Homes or Halfway homes help you to transition to normal life.
Some are mandated by the courts, but many are for those who do not feel that
their home environments are safe or conducive to successful recovery. Close
monitoring takes place to prevent relapse. Usually a 12-step program is
involved. The problem is that many are not accredited and there is no
government body to regulate them. So do thorough research first.
are intense and less intense degrees for each option available. Specialty programs
also exist for pregnant and post-pregnant women, for seniors and for children. In
all options, group, individual, and family therapy sessions are normally
conducted by trained, licensed professionals. Mental, psychiatric, and behavior
assessment and treatment take place. The aims are typically—relapse prevention,
detoxification, and dual diagnosis therapy. If you live in and around Savannah,
then you’re in luck because this city, along with Atlanta, is regarded as the
top detox city in Georgia.
make sure that whatever treatment option you choose is as long, and effective
as is needed to achieve the desired results. A relapse becomes all the more
likely when treatment is quick-fix. Ask for an assessment so you get something
that is tailor-made for you.
is an excellent part of opiate treatment that Savannah offers to those who can’t
effectively deal with withdrawal symptoms such as cravings and mood swings,
either on their own or through abstinence focused treatments.
Methadone has been federally approved as therapy for harm reduction. We all
know how harmful addiction can be to the body. A doctor will help you define
the dose that suits you and you will be monitored each day to help you stay on
track. A counselor will help you to define the psychological issues implicit in
your addiction, and to address your fractured relationships.
Aftercare services are particularly important for avoiding relapse. The
problem with addiction is that it is not curable. You need to commit to
sobriety for the rest of your life, to avoid going back to your habit. Some
good after care programs allow former inmates to return to speak to recovering
clients about how they’ve managed to stay clean. Group therapy is still
important. When researching aftercare programs in Savannah, make sure they’re
accredited. Check with trusted accreditation bodies such as the Commission on
the Accreditation of Rehabilitation (CARF) or the Council on Accreditation
(COA). Be sure to ask about experience of staff and certification.
Research by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)
has found that many people shy away from treatment because they do not have
health insurance. Consequently, less than 10 percent of adults actually seek
treatment. However, for every financial situation, there’s a fitting treatment
program in Savannah. Some organizations offer both paying and non-paying
do you find these options? Most people don’t even know that they are actually
there to assist people. The Savannah Men’s Center offers a free list of a
multitude of non-profits and also faith-based organizations that assist in
treatment and rehabilitation. FreeRehabCenters.com can help you find the
solution that best fits your needs and your pocket. Useful information may also
be found at UsDrugTrends.com; withdrawal.net/resources; addicted.org, and
Fee Paying Options
fees range from the expensive to the very cheap. Some fees are negotiable.
Certain institutions require that clients have insurance and come with a
recommendation from the local law enforcers or the SABHC (Substance Abuse
Behavioral Health Collaborative).
firms offer a sliding scale of payment with clients paying the amount that fits
their needs. This way, people with lower income may get help, too. Payment may
also be offered through Medicaid and Medicare. Additionally, SAMHSA makes
grants to rehab programs to assist those unable to pay for their own treatment,
and for people with hearing impairment.
Faith Based Options
This option is ideal for those wanting to heal
through a Christian perspective. Praying and bible reading is typical.
Religious organizations offer it for free as a charity service to their
community. The Savannah Mission Bible
Center is a faith based program that offers inpatient alcohol and drug
treatment for up to 10 months and charges no fees but is open to donations. Most free or low cost services are
offered by the non-profits, however. As their name implies, they are not out to
make a profit.
Drug Laws in Savannah, GA
like many other cities operates on the basis that prevention is better than
possession is totally illegal in Savannah and all other cities in Georgia save
for Atlanta. Possessing less than an ounce incurs imprisonment and a fine of up
to one year and $1,000 respectively. However, a first time drug offender may
receive a lighter sentence such as probation of 6 months and community service
of 18 hours. Possession of one or more ounces incurs imprisonment of 1 to 10
years. The same applies to other illegal drugs. Medical marijuana is legal
everywhere in Georgia.
late 2017, Atlanta decriminalized the possession of up to one ounce of
marijuana. It’s still not legal to own marijuana. You just don’t go to jail if
caught with very small amounts. Instead, you get a $75 fine.
agencies oversee all facilities and there are specific rules pertaining to intake,
assessment and entry rules, and every treatment program must have the relevant
license. There are state guidelines they must observe with respect to
treatment, discharge, aftercare and backup in case of emergencies. There are
mandated guidelines as to who can be hired for a treatment center, the
credentials and licenses needed.
Response to Opioid Increase
opioid surge has led to further legislation. The Prescription Drug Monitoring
Program in Savannah is in the process of being expanded to stop potential drug
victims from visiting multiple doctors to get huge stores of prescription
drugs. It also seeks to expose the doctors that prescribe unusual amounts of
the drugs. Other bills seek to deal with the fentanyl abuse.
community leaders, and lawmakers have also been urging the speeding up of plans
to legalize the sale of naloxone as a way of helping to defeat the opioid
in Savannah-Chatham now carry a naloxone nasal spray called Narcan. This
provides quick first aid relief in a potential overdose situation. This spray
is meant to counteract the effects of the drug taken. Narcan is the main type
of naloxone medication or overdose reversal medicine in use. It may also be
Savannah Harm Reduction Coalition, made up of community members is also pushing
for the increased availability of naloxone. It’s working to get it to family
members of drug users and is carrying out training sessions to ensure its
correct usage. So in extreme situations, family members can quickly administer
the drug while waiting for the police to arrive. This will help save life.
being mooted is the idea of a ‘drug profile’. Arrestees would undergo voluntary
drug screening and fill in questionnaires anonymously. Police hope this measure
will assist them in ascertaining the prevalence of the problem.