Virginia Drug Addiction and Treatment

Southwestern Virginia

Virginia Meth Addiction Problem

Consider Galax, Virginia. It’s a small, picturesque town in Southwestern Virginia. Fewer than 7000 people live in this town and in the surrounding area. A stroll down Main Street takes you by coffee shops, antique and gift stores, a smokehouse and a deli. In front of the deli, three people are playing music: a guitar, a banjo, and a big bass viol. The town nestles in the middle of a crooked patchwork of woods and farmlands. An All-American small town - one that is inexplicably in the middle of a methamphetamine epidemic. Civic leaders have joined the Police Chief in appealing to federal agencies for assistance in stamping out the meth epidemic.

Unfortunately, Galax is not alone with this meth addiction problem. The whole Shenandoah Valley shares the problem. This is the area many people flock to for the gorgeous Fall colors. The valley stretches nearly to the Maryland border to the north and almost to Roanoke in the south.

And also, unfortunately, meth is not the only severe drug problem being experienced in the state.

High-Intensity Drug Trafficking Area in Virginia

The federal government has designated two parts of Virginia as a High-Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA). Northern Virginia cities such as Alexandria, Fairfax, Manassas and the counties around Richmond are included in Virginia’s HIDTA.

Arlington Virginia

These areas have additional task forces assigned to them for the purposes of determining trends and how these trends can be countered. (Galax is asking to be included in the HIDTA.)

In these areas, the major problems are crack cocaine, heroin, marijuana, powder cocaine and diverted prescription drugs. Drugs come into Virginia on a wide variety of channels: private vehicles, rentals, commercial vehicles, couriers on flights, package delivery services, air freight and sea cargo.

A recent development in the pattern of drug trafficking is the establishment of two major drug distribution centers, one in Raleigh and one in Atlanta. This shift means that drugs coming up from the Southwest are usually in better supply. These facilities have also strengthened the position of Mexican drug trafficking organizations, who compete with Dominicans, Jamaicans, Colombians, and Vietnamese for their business.

Once the supplies get to the area and are re-packaged for retail sale, they are often distributed by street gangs in open-air markets, along major streets and in bars. Retailers in Washington D.C. and other areas may offer samples of heroin or coke to those they think might become good customers.

It’s observed that the depressed nature of inner city areas in Virginia contributes to the drug problem by leading people to think that the only way they can make money is dealing drugs, or they offer people a way to escape their economic problems. But this escape contributes to higher crime levels and these addicts seek the funds to maintain their habits.

Prescription Drugs: Safer than Street Drugs?

Prescription drugs are the preferred drugs of abuse by young citizens in affluent suburbs. Many of these young people misguidedly think these drugs are safer because they are manufactured under controlled situations and after all, they are prescribed by doctors. But the great majority of abused prescription drugs are quite addictive.

In fact, some people start with prescription drug abuse and then move on to illicit drug abuse. OxyContin gives a high similar to that of heroin but is more expensive. Young people may use Oxys at a party just a few times and then find that they can’t leave them alone. If the habit gets too expensive, they may switch to heroin which may also be more available. In a new twist, those who have been abusing Ritalin or Adderall, both ADHD drugs, are switching to methamphetamine as this drug’s distribution channels widen and the product becomes more available.

Methadone is a prescription drug developed to treat heroin addiction. It soon became a drug of abuse itself. Increasing methadone abuse in Virginia has resulted in a growing number of methadone overdose deaths - deaths doubled between 2001 and 2006, hitting 152.

Statistics of Addicted Virginians and Drug Treatment

Unfortunately, the result of enterprising drug traffickers is addicted Virginians. As there are always far more people who are addicted than there are drug treatment facilities, many people will fail to get the drug addiction treatment or the alcohol treatment that they need.

Out of a population of 7.5 million, 1.4 million state that they binge drink at least once a month, which means drinking five drinks or more drinks within a few hours. More than half a million people each year feel they suffer from alcohol addiction or substance abuse problems. And how many fail to get treatment? Annually, 150,000 people don’t find drug rehabilitation programs. More than 400,000 fail to find an alcohol treatment center to help them.

Real recovery from addiction is possible, no matter what kind of narcotic or liquor causes the problem. For many people, the solution is a residential treatment center with a drug recovery program that can provide evidence of its success.

Substance abuse treatment for alcohol consumption or drug abuse must work holistically for it to have a lasting effect. In other words, it must treat the damaging effects of substance abuse on the body but then it must also help the addict learn how to build a new drug-free life, sometimes from the ground up, when addiction has destroyed everything.

A thorough detoxification followed by counseling and life skills training enables a person in a drug program to see things in a whole new light so they can live an enjoyable, productive life again. This is the way the Narconon drug and alcohol rehabilitation program works.

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