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Guide to Drug Addiction Recovery in Georgia

This comprehensive guide to addiction recovery in Georgia: stats, resources, treatments, programs, high-risk areas, and inspiring testimonials from residents.

In this article

Understanding Addiction in Georgia

Addiction, whether to drugs or alcohol, can have devastating effects on individuals and their families. In Georgia, opioid addiction, in particular, has become a significant concern. According to the Georgia Department of Public Health, opioid overdose deaths have increased by over 480% since 2010. In 2019 alone, there were 943 opioid-related overdose deaths in the state.

In addition to opioids, other substances such as methamphetamines, cocaine, and alcohol also contribute to the addiction crisis within Georgia. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) reported that, in 2018, 6.9% of Georgia’s population aged 12 and older had a substance use disorder within the past year.

recovery in Georgia

Most Common Substance Use Disorders in Georgia

In the state of Georgia, the most common drugs used fall into four main categories: stimulants, depressants, opiates, and hallucinogens. While the first three can be administered by prescription for some types, the dangers of addiction are still present.

These substances can lead to physical dependence and changes in brain chemistry and cause long-term damage to physical and mental health, relationships, and overall quality of life.

When it comes to stimulants, 6% of high school students in Georgia report using cocaine at least once. In 2019, approximately 1% of the state’s population reported using methamphetamines regularly.

Alcohol is a depressant, and around 1.2 million adults in Georgia engage in heavy drinking.

Opiates are one of the most abused groups in the state. In 2021, about 54% of all drug overdose deaths involved opioid prescriptions. The estimated number of heroin users in Georgia reached approximately 10,000 individuals in 2021.

Hallucinogens, such as marijuana, are common nationwide. Usage statistics show that around 16% of Georgians aged 18-25 use marijuana. Roughly 2.5% of Georgia’s youth reported having used LSD or other hallucinogens at least once.

These figures highlight the extent to which these substances are used and underscore the public health challenge they represent in Georgia.

Stimulants

Stimulants speed up messages between the brain and body and cause individuals to feel more awake, alert, confident, and energetic. Large doses can cause over-stimulation, which leads to anxiety, panic, seizures, headaches, stomach cramps, aggression, and paranoia. 

Stimulants include:

  • Nicotine
  • Amphetamines 
  • Cocaine
  • Methamphetamine
  • Methcathinone
  • Adderall
  • Ritalin
  • Ephedrine
  • MDMA
  • MDPV
  • Mephedrone

Methamphetamine addiction destroyed my life. Finding help seemed impossible, but the Augusta Addiction Center offered me hope. Through their long-term residential program, I regained control of my life. I’m now two years clean and working as a counselor to help others battling addiction.


– Emily from Augusta

Opiates

Opiates are drugs that either derive from the opium poppy plant or are synthetically produced. They attach to the opioid receptors in the brain and the central nervous system. Opiates are highly addictive because of the relief they can bring. They reduce pain, bring on feelings of drowsiness, and create a sense of euphoria in the body. Misuse of opiates can lead to an overdose, respiratory paralysis, and death. 

Opiates include:

  • Heroin
  • Oxycodone
  • Morphine
  • Hydrocodone
  • Codeine
  • Fentanyl

I was in the grip of opioid addiction for years. It cost me my job, my home, and nearly my life. A friend suggested the AtlantaDetox Center, and it was there, through intensive therapy and support, that I started my journey to sobriety. Today, I am one year clean, employed, and have rekindled relationships with my loved ones. Georgia’s resources saved my life.


– Sarah from Atlanta

Depressants

Depressants are drugs that slow down the central nervous system. The result is feelings of relaxation and sedation. Typically, medical providers prescribe depressants to treat anxiety, sleep disorders, and other medical-related conditions. However, depressants can lead to severe health problems and even death when abused. 

Depressants include:

  • Alcohol
  • Valium
  • Xanax
  • Halcion
  • Ativan
  • Klonopin
  • Restoril
  • Rohypnol
  • Lunesta
  • Ambien
  • Sonata
  • Quaalude
  • GHB

Hallucinogens

Hallucinogens alter a person’s perception, mood, and thought patterns. Whether naturally occurring or produced synthetically, they affect the neurotransmitters in the brain. Abusing hallucinogens can cause long-term psychological effects on an individual’s mental health.

Hallucinogens include: 

  • LSD
  • Psilocybin (mushrooms)
  • DMT
  • Mescaline
  • PCP
  • Cannabis
  • Ecstasy
  • Ketamine
prescription drug safety

Signs of Substance Use Disorder

Symptoms of substance use disorder (SUD) vary depending on the drug, but some general signs apply to many drugs.

These signs of addiction include:

  • The urge to use the drug frequently
  • Needing more of the drug to feel normal
  • Making sure you always have a supply
  • Spending money on drugs even when you can’t afford it
  • Neglecting work, school, or family obligations
  • Continuing to use drugs despite adverse outcomes
  • Attempting to quit and failing
  • Experiencing withdrawal symptoms when you stop

My name is Sandy T, I am an addict. All my life I was addicted to more of anything that made me feel good. I would use people, alcohol, and drugs in hopes of filling the void inside me.

Types of Treatment Programs

When it comes to treating addiction, one size does not fit all. Various treatment options are available, each tailored to meet different needs. These include:

  • Detoxification (Detox) is the first step in many treatment plans. Detox helps rid the body of drugs and alcohol while managing withdrawal symptoms. This process typically takes place in a supervised medical environment where healthcare professionals can monitor the patient’s vital signs and provide medications to ease withdrawal symptoms.

    Detoxification can vary in length from a few days to several weeks, depending on factors such as the type of substance used, the duration and severity of the addiction, and the individual’s overall health.

    Detox is crucial as it prepares the body and mind for ongoing therapeutic treatment by clearing toxins, thus reducing physical dependence and the risk of relapse. After detox, patients are usually encouraged to continue with more comprehensive treatment plans, which may include therapy, counseling, and support groups.

  • Inpatient rehab is a residential program that provides intensive, structured treatment in a hospital or rehabilitation facility, typically lasting 30 to 90 days. It offers a highly controlled environment that helps individuals focus solely on their recovery without the distractions and triggers of daily life.

    Patients receive 24/7 medical and emotional support from a multidisciplinary team of healthcare professionals, including doctors, nurses, counselors, and therapists.

    These programs often provide aftercare planning and support services to help individuals transition into their daily lives with ongoing support and resources.

  • Outpatient rehab is for those unable to join inpatient programs due to personal commitments or who have less severe addictions. Outpatient rehab offers a more flexible option. It allows individuals to attend treatment sessions while continuing their daily responsibilities, such as work, school, or family obligations. Outpatient rehab can vary in intensity and structure, often divided into several levels of care, including Intensive Outpatient Programs (IOP) and Partial Hospitalization Programs (PHP).

    Patients must typically attend treatment sessions several times a week for a few hours each day. This allows them to immediately apply what they learn in therapy to real-world situations, which can be particularly beneficial for reinforcing coping strategies and relapse prevention techniques in real-time.

    Outpatient rehab also includes regular monitoring and support, with treatment plans tailored to meet each patient’s needs and progress. It often serves as a step-down level of care for individuals transitioning from inpatient rehab or as a standalone option for those with strong support systems at home and a lower risk of relapse.

  • Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) combines medications with counseling and behavioral therapies to treat substance use disorders. This approach is particularly effective for opioid and alcohol addictions, providing a comprehensive and tailored treatment plan that addresses both the physical and psychological components of addiction.

    For opioid addiction, medications like methadone, buprenorphine (Suboxone), and naltrexone are commonly used. These medications work by normalizing brain chemistry, blocking the euphoric effects of opioids, and alleviating physiological cravings, thus reducing the risk of relapse and overdose. Methadone and buprenorphine act as opioid agonists or partial agonists, easing withdrawal symptoms and cravings without producing the same high as illicit opioids. Naltrexone, on the other hand, is an opioid antagonist that blocks the effects of opioids altogether.

    For alcohol addiction, medications such as disulfiram (Antabuse), naltrexone, and acamprosate are frequently prescribed. Disulfiram creates an acute sensitivity to ethanol, leading to unpleasant reactions if alcohol is consumed. Naltrexone helps reduce cravings and the pleasure derived from drinking, while acamprosate works to stabilize brain chemistry and reduce post-acute withdrawal symptoms.

    The ultimate goal of MAT is to improve patient survival, enhance retention in treatment, decrease illicit opiate use and other criminal activities, increase patients’ ability to gain and maintain employment and improve birth outcomes among women who have substance use disorders and are pregnant.

  • Sober living homes are structured environments designed to support individuals in the early stages of addiction recovery. These homes provide a safe, substance-free living space where residents can reinforce the skills and habits they have learned in treatment programs, fostering a smoother transition back into everyday life.
Guide to Recovery in Georgia

Types of Treatment Services

There are various services available to cater to the diverse needs of individuals struggling with addiction:

  • 12-step Programs are faith-based programs, such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Narcotics Anonymous (NA), that follow a structured set of recovery steps and provide peer support to individuals struggling with addiction. 12-step meetings are typically held regularly and are led by peers who have experienced addiction themselves. These meetings provide a safe and confidential space for participants to share their experiences, challenges, and successes in recovery. Participants gain strength and support from hearing others’ stories and knowing they are not alone in their struggles.

Alcoholism had taken everything from me, but the turning point came when I joined a 12-step program in Savannah. The sense of community and the steps provided the structure I needed. It’s been three years, and I owe my life and sanity to the program and the support I found here.


– David from Savannah
  • Non-12-step programs are alternatives to traditional 12-step programs. These options may include secular or scientifically based approaches to addiction treatment, such as SMART Recovery. Non-12-step programs cater to individuals who prefer a non-spiritual path to recovery or do not resonate with the 12-step methodology’s structure and beliefs.
    • SMART Recovery is one of the most well-known non-12-step programs. It focuses on scientifically validated methods to help individuals overcome addiction.
    • LifeRing is a secular recovery network that emphasizes personal empowerment and peer support.
    • Secular Organizations for Sobriety (SOS) focuses on self-reliance and maintaining sobriety through secular support groups.
    • Moderation Management (MM) is aimed at individuals who seek to reduce their alcohol consumption rather than achieving complete abstinence.

  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is powerful and shifts negative thoughts and behaviors. CBT targets the underlying thoughts, attitudes, and beliefs contributing to addiction. You and your therapist work together so you can unlearn self-defeating behaviors. This makes it easier to manage triggering situations healthily.

  • Dialectical-behavioral therapy (DBT) identifies your strengths and the negative thoughts and behaviors hindering your recovery. DBT empowers you to regulate painful emotions, cope with stress, and communicate better.

  • Group therapy is another invaluable treatment service that CBT and DBT offer. Your therapist leads this session in a safe and structured environment, which provides a sense of connection and support. No one speaks over or interrupts each other in the group.

  • Family therapy brings the entire family together. Your therapist leads the session with your loved ones. Family therapy intends to recognize the often complicated nature of family systems. This method can help individuals in recovery rebuild trust with their loved ones.

  • Experiential therapy utilizes self-expression tools and activities to confront challenges to long-term recovery. It aims to find meaningful activities that resonate with you so that you can engage in the therapeutic process.

10 Top Recovery Centers in Georgia

  1. The Summit Wellness Group
    745 Hembree Place, Roswell, GA 30076
    996 Huff Road NW, Suite C Atlanta, GA 30318
    (770) 796-3304

  2. Talbott Recovery
    5448 Yorktowne Drive, Atlanta, GA 30349
    (877) 345-3301

  3. Atlanta Detox
    277 Medical Way, Riverdale, GA 30274
    (833) 636-0337

  4. Atlanta Addiction Recovery Center
    1742 Mount Vernon Road, Suite 100, Atlanta, GA 30338
    (866) 286-2676

  5. Bluff Plantation
    963 Bennock Mill Road, Augusta, GA 30906
    (844) 589-4673

  6. Greenleaf Behavioral Health Hospital
    2209 Pineview Drive, Valdosta, GA 31602
    (855) 271-2987

  7. Ridgeview Institute
    3995 South Cobb Drive SE, Smyrna, GA 30080
    (844) 350-8800

  8. Willingway
    311 Jones Mill Road, Statesboro, GA 30458
    (888) 979-2140

  9. Black Bear Lodge
    Cosby Highway, Sautee Nacoochee, GA 30571
    (706) 914-2327

  10. Blue Ridge Mountain Recovery Center
    1380 Howell Bridge Road, Ball Ground, GA 30107
    (833) 749-0360
Guide to Recovery in Georgia

Resources for a Better Quality of Life

Recovery from addiction is possible with the right resources and support. Georgia offers several resources to help those struggling with addiction find the necessary care.

Helplines:

  • Atlanta Crisis Hotline is accessible at (404) 730-1600 if you need immediate assistance but are not in a medical emergency.
  • Georgia Crisis & Access Line (GCAL) is available 24/7, 365 days a year. It provides free and confidential access to crisis intervention, stabilization, and treatment referrals. You can reach them at (800) 715-4225, text “GA” to 74174, or access the MyGCAL App.
  • AFSP Georgia Healing Conversations connects you with volunteers who have been through the same experience for understanding and guidance during a tough time.
  • SAMHSA’s National Helpline is (800) 662-HELP and offers free and confidential treatment referral and information services in English and Spanish.
  • LGBT National Hotline is a confidential, safe space where all trained volunteers identify as part of the LGBTQIA+ community. Dial (888) 843-4564 or via online chat.
  • Georgia Addiction Hotline provides 24/7 confidential support, treatment referrals, and resources for individuals dealing with substance abuse in Georgia. The number is (888) 997-3147.
  • Drug Addiction Helpline – Georgia, (888) 319-2606, offers 24/7 confidential support, treatment options, and resources for individuals facing drug addiction in Georgia.

Calling the Georgia addiction hotline was the hardest but the best decision I’ve ever made. The person on the other end was empathetic and gave me immediate support. They connected me with a local treatment center that offered personalized care. The follow-up calls and continuous support ensured I stayed on track with my recovery. Today, I have regained control of my life and couldn’t be more grateful for the help that started with that one call.


– Mark J. from Marietta

Websites:

Organizations:

Seek Treatment Today

Addiction is a profound challenge, but recovery is within reach, even in the hardest-hit areas of Georgia. Understanding the statistics, recognizing the available resources, and knowing the various treatment options and programs can empower those struggling with addiction to seek the help they need. Furthermore, real-life testimonials from Georgia residents demonstrate that recovery is possible and achievable with the right support and dedication.

If you or someone you know is grappling with addiction, remember that help is available, and recovery is always an option. Take the first step today by contacting The Summit Wellness Group at ContactUs@TheSummitWellnessGroup.org.

Addiction is a pervasive issue that has affected countless lives across the United States, and Georgia is no exception. This article will offer a comprehensive guide to addiction recovery in Georgia, highlighting key statistics, resources for treatment, types of treatment options, treatment programs available, places with high rates of addiction, and testimonials from Georgia residents who have triumphed over addiction.

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We’d love the opportunity to help you during this overwhelming and difficult process. The Summit Wellness Group is located in Georgia and all of your calls will be directed to one of our local staff members. Our sincere passion is helping people recover so that they can live full, meaningful and healthy lives.

Call us 24/7 at 770-299-1677. If we aren’t the right fit for you then we’ll utilize our expertise and connections within the treatment industry to assist you in finding the best provider for your specific needs. Alternatively you can fill out our contact form and a member of our staff will contact you shortly.