Georgia Prescription Opioid and Heroin Epidemic

i Jan 24th No Comments by

Georgia in Top 11 Worst Off States for Opioid Overdoses

Georgia ranks #11 in states with most prescription opioid OD deaths549 opioid drug ODs in 2015 29 counties where drug OD rates outpace U.S. average 11 Georgia ranks among top 11 states with most prescription opioid OD deaths

Georgia ranks #11 in states with most prescription opioid OD deaths, with 549 opioid drug ODs in 2015 and 29 counties where drug OD rates outpace the U.S. average. Nearly half of young people who inject heroin start by using Rx drugs.  According to Partnership for Drug-Free Kids, some teens might try prescription medication at a party because they are curious or think it will make them feel good. Medicines most commonly abused are shown here:

Or they might start taking it legally, when it has been prescribed for pain. Habit quickly becomes dependency with these highly addictive opioids, and once legal prescriptions run out, affected teens will turn to illicit opioids, and then heroin.

Governor Deal recently expanded access to naloxone to reverse opioid OD’s after seeing the White Paper that I recently edited and produced for my client, Georgia Prevention Project. Please take a moment to read the Executive Summary up front. Then sit down and talk with your kids.



What to Look for in Teen Recovery Services

i Sep 17th No Comments by

The Substance Abuse and Mental Services Administration (SAMHSA) is a remarkable organization dedicated to helping Americans, particularly recovery professionals and people in crisis, to better navigate substance abuse issues with better tools and information. It also performs research on programs and tracks and reports outcomes. This checklist is beneficial to any parent who is trying to make a decision about what comes next for their teen in crisis. Whether a parent is alone in this journey or working with a therapist, law enforcement office, or school counselor, the list is a dependable guide to understand quickly what one must look for in terms of support services.


Knowing the right type of program for your teen to recover is important. Inpatient? Outpatient? Read on…

When you are looking for a recovery program for your teen, here is a list of services that you should feel are required.

Primary Focus of Provider

  • Substance abuse treatment services
  • Mental health services
  • Mix of mental health and substance abuse services
  • General health services

Services Provided

  • Substance abuse treatment
  • Detoxification
  • Methadone maintenance
  • Methadone detoxification
  • Buprenorphine used in treatment
  • Halfway house

Type of Care

  • Hospital in-patient
  • Out-patient
  • Partial hospitalization/ day treatment
  • Residential short-term treatment (30 days or less)
  • Residential long-term treatment (more than 30 days)

Special Programs/ Groups Offered

  • Adolescents
  • Persons with co-occuring mental and substance abuse disorders
  • Persons with HIV/ AIDS
  • Gays and Lesbians
  • Pregnant/ postpartum women
  • Women
  • Men
  • Residential
  • DUI/ DWI offenders
  • Other, Criminal justice clients

Forms of Payment Accepted

  • Self payment
  • Medicaid
  • Medicare
  • State financed insurance (other than medicaid)
  • Private health insurance
  • Military insurance
  • Access to recovery voucher

Payment Assistance Available

  • Sliding fee scale (Fee is based on income and other factors)
  • Payment assistance (Check with a facility for details)

Special Language Services

  • ASL or other assistance needed for hearing impaired
  • Spanish
  • Native American or Alaskan native languages
  • Other Languages

Steps to Plan an Intervention for Substance Abuse

i Sep 12th 2 Comments by

When planning an intervention, it is important that certain steps are followed in order for it to be effective. The last thing you want to do is come across as ambushing your teen. In order to have an effective intervention, we recommend the following 7 steps be taken. These steps were gathered by experts at the Mayo Clinic.

7 Steps to Planning a Successful Intervention

Step 1: Make a Plan

A family member or friend proposes an intervention and forms a planning group. It’s best if you consult with a qualified professional counselor, addiction specialist, psychologist, mental health counselor, social worker or an interventionist to help you organize an effective intervention. An intervention is a highly charged situation with the potential to cause anger, resentment or a sense of betrayal.

Step 2: Gather Information

The group members find out about the extent of the loved one’s problem and research the condition and treatment programs. The group may initiate arrangements to enroll the loved one in a specific treatment program.

Step 3: Form the Intervention Team

Teen_InterventionThe planning group forms a team that will personally participate in the intervention. Team members set a date and location and work together to present a consistent, rehearsed message and a structured plan. Often, non-family members of the team help keep the discussion focused on the facts of the problem and shared solutions rather than strong emotional responses. Do not let your loved one know what you are doing until the day of the intervention.

Step 4: Decide on Specific Consequences

If your loved one doesn’t accept treatment, each person on the team needs to decide what action he or she will take. Examples include asking your loved one to move out or taking away contact with children.

Step 5: Make Notes on What to Say

Each member of the intervention team describes specific incidents where the addiction caused problems, such as emotional or financial issues. Discuss the toll of your loved one’s behavior while still expressing care and the expectation that your loved one can change. Your loved one can’t argue with facts or with your emotional response to the problem. For example begin by saying “I was upset and hurt when you drank…”

Step 6: Hold the Intervention Meeting

Without revealing the reason, the loved one is asked to the intervention site. Members of the core team then take turns expressing their concerns and feelings. The loved one is presented with a treatment option and asked to accept that option on the spot. Each team member will say what specific changes he or she will make if the addicted person doesn’t accept the plan. Do not threaten a consequence unless you are ready to follow through with it.

Step 7: Follow Up

Involving a spouse, family members or others is critical to help someone with an addiction stay in treatment and avoid relapsing. This can include changing patterns of everyday living to make it easier to avoid destructive behavior, offering to participate in counseling with your loved one, seeking your own therapist and recovery support, and knowing what to do if relapse occurs.

A successful intervention must be planned carefully to work as intended. A poorly planned intervention can worsen the situation — your loved one may feel attacked and become isolated or more resistant to treatment. The Mayo Clinic also recommends that consulting an interventionist can be beneficial.

Alcoholism Assessment. Is the Problem You, Your Child, or Both?

i Jul 26th No Comments by

Alcoholism and substance abuse is a family disease. Because of this, you should assess yourself AND your teen. It could be very informative and enable you to understand just how a problem evolved and whether hereditary traits exist. Here is a terrific “about my drinking” self-assessment by the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation that helps you to determine the degree of a problem. Anyone can take it on line, anonymously.


Determine who really has an alcohol abuse issue. You? Your loved one? Both? Credit: Shutterstock

Face the Facts so you can act.

Thinking there’s no way this could happen to me is a dangerous mindset. The sooner parents realize how prevalent these issues are, including mental health issues, the faster they can face up to the potential reality that a teen needs help. Here is a snapshot from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, SAMHSA, 2014:

  • An estimated 24.6 million individuals aged 12 or older were current illicit drug users in 2013, including 2.2 million adolescents aged 12 to 17. In 2013, 60.1 million individuals aged 12 or older were past month binge drinkers, including 1.6 million adolescents.
  • Of the estimated 22.7 million individuals aged 12 or older in 2013 who needed treatment for an illicit drug or alcohol use problem, 2.5 million received treatment at a specialty facility.
  • In 2013, about 1 in 10 adolescents (10.7 percent) had a major depressive episode (MDE) in the past year. Among adolescents with MDE, 38.1 percent received treatment or counseling for depression in the past year.
  • In 2013, nearly 1 in 5 adults aged 18 or older (18.5 percent) had a mental illness (i.e., “any mental illness,” or AMI) in the past year; 4.2 percent had a serious mental illness (SMI); and 3.9 percent had serious thoughts of suicide in the past year.
  • In 2013, 1.4 percent of adolescents had co-occurring MDE and substance use disorder (SUD); 3.2 percent of adults had co-occurring AMI and SUD; and 1.0 percent of adults had co-occurring SMI and SUD

Here are some other great guides that will help you.

Intervention Guide – this is the best online alcohol abuse assessment tool, from And it is available online and can be downloaded anonymously. Click Here for access to this resource