Inside the Opioid Triangle Georgia
The opioid epidemic has swept across the country, leaving few areas unaffected by this insidious killer that steals about 90 young lives each day. When looking at drug trends and death statistics, one particular region of interest is what has been termed The Triangle. The opioid triangle Georgia encompasses a four county span where heroin-related deaths have spiked 3,844% over the past six years, according to 11Alive, a local news station that features ongoing programming about the growing crisis.
While the opioid epidemic is nationwide, attention will be squarely on the Georgia scene with an entire season of the A&E series, Intervention, devoted to examining it through five addicts whose stories will be featured. This is the first time that Intervention, now in its 19th season (first airing in 2005), has homed in on one particular region for its show. The series, called The Heroin Triangle, began broadcasting the series on January 3, 2018, and is sure to garner attention for exposing not only the devastating impact of opioids on a community or state, but also on the growing death rates in upscale enclaves.
Where is the Opioid Triangle Georgia?
A few years ago, a deadly trend began to develop among four counties north of Atlanta, namely Fulton, Cobb, Gwinnet, and DeKalb counties. While this area includes all ethnicities and socioeconomic strata, a sharp increase of heroin overdoses in the northern suburbs was a wake-up call that could not be ignored. Heroin had been considered an urban problem for decades, but the shift in the fast five years has turned that assumption on its ear.
It has been stated that in 2015 more heroin-related deaths occurred in the 4-county region than car accidents and murders combined. In just one of the counties, Fulton, 150 heroin overdose deaths occurred in 2016.
What Factors Contribute to the Opioid Triangle Georgia?
Factors that may have contributed to the high concentration of deaths in The Triangle mirror what is happening across the U.S., although at a seemingly higher intensity. For example, deaths from prescription painkillers in the country have tripled from 1999-2013, but in Georgia they increased tenfold, according to the Georgia.gov website.
Further, the overdose rates are higher in 29 Georgia counties when compared to the rest of the states. In 2015, 549 Georgians died due to opioid-related addiction and abuse, with the bulk of the deaths being among 18-25 year olds—with half of them occurring in The Triangle. A serious problem with the overprescribing of pain medications at pain clinics in the state, referred to as “pill mills” is highlighted by the fact that 7.8 million pain scripts were written in Georgia in 2015. Fulton County, in The Triangle, has recently filed a lawsuit against pharmaceutical companies, the first U.S. county to do so.
Treatment for Opioid Addiction
Treating opioid dependency is difficult but often requires inpatient detox and residential treatment program. It requires commitment, time, and a lot of patience for an individual to gain the upper hand in opioid addiction. Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) is now the standard of care for helping those who are battling a heroin or prescription pill addiction. Drugs such as buprenorphine, naltrexone, and methadone are commonly prescribed to ease withdrawals and curb drug cravings, helping to increase the odds of a sustained recovery.
In addition to the MAT, it is essential that intensive talk therapy, both individual and group sessions, be included in the treatment process. Often during psychotherapy, significant insights emerge that may be factors contributing to the addiction. Group sessions provide peer support, as do recovery group meetings, such as NA or a non-12 step format.
Receiving Medical Treatment Programs for Opioid Addiction
The Treatment Specialist connects you to a treatment center for opioid and heroin detox. A Treatment Specialist will provide a free confidential telephone assessment and provide guidance and compassion during the process. Also, a Treatment Specialist will do a free insurance benefit check to help the individual reduce and prepare for any out of pocket costs, if any. If you or your loved one has been impacted by the opioid addiction crisis in Georgia, please contact a Treatment Specialist today at (866) 644-7911.