Your decision to seek treatment for addiction will change the course of your future. That’s why it’s so important to choose the right location for drug rehab and recovery. The state of Georgia offers hundreds of rehab facilities, both state-funded and privately supported. Choosing the best setting for drug rehabilitation requires a careful comparison of your options before you make that commitment.

Located in the southeastern US, Georgia is known for the peaceful beauty of the Appalachian foothills as well as its fast-paced metropolitan areas and eclectic college towns. This diverse, culturally rich state is a focal point of Southern heritage. Residents and visitors alike enjoy the state’s museums, historical sites, symphony performances, sports events, and outdoor recreational opportunities. With world-renowned cities like Atlanta, Savannah and Athens, Georgia holds a wealth of opportunity for personal growth.

Whether you live in this hospitable state or you’re searching for a rehab facility at a distance from your home, Georgia is an ideal recovery destination. Here, you’ll find the privacy and discretion you’re looking for, combined with inspiring views of nature and access to all the conveniences and attractions that Georgia’s major cities have to offer.

Georgia Substance Abuse Statistics

Substance abuse affects every state in the nation, and Georgia is no exception. Statistics show that the Peach State ranks at or below the national average in drug abuse, dependence and overdose. This state also ranks near the US average in the number of residents who seek treatment for drug or alcohol addiction. The National Survey and Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) provides the following statistics for 2010-2011:

  • More than six percent of Georgia residents ages 18 and older had used an illegal drug in the past 30 days.
  • More than nine percent of this group had used marijuana within the past 12 months.
  • Nearly four percent of this group had used a prescription painkiller for recreational reasons in the past 12 months.
  • Nearly 21 percent of Georgians ages 18 and older reported binge drinking in the past 12 months.
  • Nearly six percent of this demographic group reported that they had abused alcohol or were dependent on alcohol within the past year.

Disturbingly, 5.4 percent of Georgians over the age of 17 needed but didn’t receive alcohol abuse treatment in 2010-2011, according to the NSDUH, while almost two percent needed but didn’t receive treatment for addiction to illicit drugs.

Comparing Georgia to Other States


How do Georgians match up with the rest of the country in terms of substance abuse? Data from the Executive Office of the President of the United States show that the rate of drug abuse and addiction in Georgia is similar to the rest of the nation. Approximately seven percent of Georgians report illicit drug abuse, compared to a US average of around eight percent.

The statistics on overdose deaths in Georgia are sobering. The Trust for America’s Health notes that almost 11 out of every 100,000 Georgia residents die of a drug overdose. While Georgia ranks lower than the national average in overdose fatalities, the incidence of deaths in this state is increasing at a faster rate. On a national level, the rate of overdose fatalities has doubled since 1999, while the overdose fatality rate in Georgia has tripled. Most of these deaths in Georgia are related to prescription drug addiction, a problem that has reached epidemic proportions throughout the US.

Addiction Treatment in Georgia

Georgia offers abundant opportunities for drug and alcohol rehabilitation. Both state-funded and private treatment centers are available in the state’s major communities. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), the number of Georgia residents seeking treatment has grown since 1992. In that year, 30,000 Georgians sought treatment for drug or alcohol addiction; by 2005, that number had increased to 45,000. Trends in substance abuse have also changed.

The number of Georgians seeking treatment for alcohol abuse has declined, while the number seeking help for marijuana or methamphetamine abuse has grown steadily.

The National Survey of Substance Abuse Treatment Services (N-SSATS) for 2010 indicates that 243 treatment facilities were included in the survey that year. While this number doesn’t necessarily represent all the rehab options in Georgia, it is a close estimate of the total number of rehabilitation centers in the state.

Out of this group of facilities:

  • 80 were operated by private, non-profit organizations
  • 85 were operated by private, for-profit organizations
  • 26 were run by local, county or community government agencies
  • 42 were operated by the Georgia state government
  • 10 were run by the federal government (four by the Department of Veterans Affairs and six by the Department of Defense)

The services offered by Georgia treatment centers vary from one facility to another. The N-SSATS indicates that 130 facilities offered substance abuse treatment services, while 100 offered a combination of mental health care and substance abuse treatment. Rehab services included:

  • Outpatient treatment (provided at 191 facilities)
  • Intensive outpatient care (provided at 84 facilities)
  • Partial hospitalization (provided at 47 facilities)
  • Outpatient detox (provided at 41 facilities)
  • Methadone therapy (provided at 42 facilities)
  • Residential care (provided at 70 facilities)
  • Residential detox services (provided at 19 facilities)
  • Hospital residential treatment (provided at 18 facilities)
  • Hospital residential detox (provided at 17 facilities)

Georgia Communities

The state of Georgia has several major metropolitan areas, each of which has its own unique style, pace and economy. As you research treatment centers in Georgia, think about what you need to maximize your chances of a successful recovery. Do you feel more comfortable in a familiar urban area, where you have easy access to conveniences and transportation? Or does the thought of a remote, peaceful setting call to you? Here is a review of Georgia’s leading communities and their features:

Atlanta +

As the capital city of Georgia, Atlanta is a hub of state government, business, finance, culture and history. The Atlanta Metropolitan Area has the largest population in the state, with over five million people. Because many of the city’s historic buildings were burned during the Civil War, Atlanta’s skyline has a distinctly modern look. Most of the city’s cultural attractions, sports venues, and business districts are located in the downtown area. Atlanta is home to one of the busiest international airports in the world: the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.Atlanta has enjoyed a diminishing crime rate since the 1980s. In the 1980s and 1990s, crack cocaine swept through the city, setting off a wave of criminal activity, addiction and urban decay. As a center of cocaine distribution in the South, Atlanta was also hit by an influx of drugs from Mexico. Today, efforts to restore the city and revitalize its economy have resulted in some of the lowest crime rates in its history. Meanwhile, the Atlanta Police Department includes a High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area program charged with the investigation and prevention of drug-related crime in the metropolitan area.Today, Atlanta is faced with a new drug-related problem: the epidemic of prescription drug abuse. The University of Texas reports that narcotic pain relievers and benzodiazepines — a group of tranquilizers that includes Valium, Ativan and Xanax — have become the new drugs of choice in the capital city of Georgia. In 2005, nearly 50 percent of fatalities related to drug abuse were associated with narcotic painkillers like hydrocodone and oxycodone, with benzodiazepines following close behind.

Atlanta residents who are struggling to overcome drug or alcohol addiction have a wealth of treatment programs to choose from. The city’s Center for Health and Rehabilitation, a county-operated treatment facility, provides intensive substance abuse treatment services on an outpatient basis. State-funded residential programs are available, as well as private residential rehab centers. Atlanta rehab centers give you access to all of the city’s major attractions and amenities, while providing care from some of the top therapists in this global city.

Augusta +

As the second largest metropolitan complex in Georgia, the Augusta-Richmond area is home to more than a half million residents, while the population of August proper was approximately 195,000 as of 2009. The city of Augusta has earned a worldwide reputation for its annual golf tournament, The Masters. This center of health care and manufacturing is also known as the boyhood town of President Woodrow Wilson and the hometown of singer/songwriter James Brown.Located on the Savannah River, Augusta borders the state of South Carolina. Augusta has a long history in the South, and from 1785 to 1795, the city served as the state capitol. Today, visitors and residents alike appreciate the stately homes of Augusta’s historic districts.Like other major communities in the southeastern US, Augusta has been the site of international drug trafficking from Mexico. In 2013, the Atlanta Division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation announced that 14 defendants had been indicted in a conspiracy to transport methamphetamine from Mexico to the Augusta-Richmond area, as well as to parts of South Carolina. Methamphetamine is on the rise in Georgia. According to the Georgia Meth Project, meth abuse costs the state approximately $1.3 billion each year. The toll that drug abuse takes on individual residents of Georgia and their families is just as devastating.

Augusta recovery options run the gamut from community facilities to state-operated treatment centers, non-profit organizations, and private for-profit rehabs. The Community Mental Health Center (CMHC) of East Central Georgia is a prominent community-based treatment facility in the Augusta-Richmond area. The CMHC provides a combination of mental health and substance abuse treatment services on an outpatient basis, with partial hospitalization services available.

Columbus +

With a population just over 198,000, Columbus is now the second-largest city in Georgia after Atlanta. The city lies on the Chattahoochee River, which also borders the state of Alabama. Together, Columbus and Phenix City, Alabama, make up a large metropolitan area with a total population of 310,000. During the Civil War, Columbus was a focal point of manufacturing for the Confederate Army. Today, it is the home of Columbus State University, a major institution of higher learning. Columbus also offers a host of museums, historical centers, sporting events and other tourist attractions.Like many historic cities in Georgia, Columbus was struck by a plague of crime, drugs and urban decay in the 1960s through the 1980s. Recent efforts to revitalize the downtown area have brought the city back to life. A focus on restoration and historic preservation brought business back to the heart of the city and attracted a new wave of tourism. The city has now expanded to include a number of stadiums, parks and performing arts venues.Methamphetamine abuse is a growing concern in the Columbus area. In 2013, WTVM, a local news station, announced that five Columbus residents had been arrested in a meth-trafficking scheme. The arrest was part of a statewide movement to reduce meth-related crime in Georgia. The Police Department of Columbus, Georgia, promotes community awareness of the dangers of meth by publishing facts about this highly addictive stimulant. Methamphetamine abuse can lead to heart attack, stroke, kidney and liver damage, intense anxiety, and permanent psychological impairment.

Columbus residents can take advantage of state-funded, privately operated, and religiously based addiction treatment programs. The New Horizons Community Service Board offers affordable mental health services and addiction treatment in eight counties of western Georgia. A number of private treatment centers offer substance abuse services on a residential or outpatient basis.

Savannah +

Known for its classical Southern architecture, its cultural events and its colorful history, Savannah is the oldest city in Georgia. The city is not only a focal point of history and architecture, but a hub of industry and a major seaport. Its historic downtown area, park squares and residential neighborhoods have been recognized as national landmarks. The city is a center of education in Georgia, with four colleges and universities. Situated on the Savannah River and only 20 miles from the Atlantic Ocean, Savannah is often exposed to floods and hurricanes.In spite of its reputation as an elegant Southern community, Savannah is also renowned for its underground culture and nightlife. Like other large Georgia communities, the city has struggled to fight illegal drug trafficking, alcohol abuse and drug addiction. In 2013, the Savannah Morning News reported that in response to the overwhelming problem of prescription drug abuse in Georgia, the state had acquired access to a national Prescription Drug Monitoring Program. This program, which allows registered physicians to track their patients’ drug prescriptions, is designed to prevent drug-seeking practices. The goal of the program is to help reduce the number of overdoses and fatalities from narcotic painkillers and prescription tranquilizers.With a population of 142,000, Savannah is a major city with a full range of addiction treatment options. Rehab facilities within the city provide detox services, outpatient treatment and residential care. Private treatment centers are available, as well as state-funded services and non-profit organizations for clients with limited financial resources. The Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities can refer Savannah residents to a variety of resources for addictive diseases, including crisis services, detoxification programs, outpatient rehab and residential treatment programs.

Athens +

Home to the University of Georgia, Athens is a classic college town, with a vibrant culture and a youthful population. With its emphasis on higher education, music and art, the city of Athens has a uniquely creative atmosphere. Athens residents and tourists alike enjoy the city’s museums, restaurants, bars and parks. Together with Clarke County, Athens makes up the Athens-Clarke County metropolitan area, with a population approaching 119,000 as of 2012. Athens-Clarke County ranks number six in the state in terms of its size.Located on the Oconee River, Athens began as a trading community in the late 1700s. This settlement became a town in 1806 — over 10 years after the University of Georgia was founded. Today, Athens-Clarke County is a growing urban area, with all of the advances and challenges of the 21st century. Substance abuse trends in the Athens-Clarke County area reflect patterns of abuse throughout Georgia. Prescription drug abuse is a growing problem, according to the Athens Regional Health System (ARHS). The ARHS cites statistics stating that on a national level, the number of people seeking treatment for prescription drug abuse rose by nearly 350 percent between 1998 and 2008.Like other communities with a large population of college students, Athens has a substantial number of residents who struggle with alcohol abuse. Athens-Clarke County offers a wide range of treatment services for alcohol and drug addiction, including privately funded rehabs, non-profit recovery centers, and community health facilities. The John Fontaine Jr. Center for Alcohol Awareness and Education, part of the University Health Center at the University of Georgia, offers educational services, counseling and intervention for students who have a problem with alcohol or drugs. Also affiliated with the University of Georgia, the Athens Area Commencement Center (AACC) provides addiction recovery services on an outpatient or residential basis. The AACC also serves as an educational resource for the university by offering clinical internships for students in the School of Social Work, the School of Nursing, and the School of Pharmacy.

Finding the Right Location

There are advantages and disadvantages to each level of addiction treatment. As you compare the facilities in your area, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Would residential treatment or outpatient services work best for you? Outpatient treatment is generally more flexible and affordable, while residential treatment is more structured and more focused.
  • Do you need mental health services as well as substance abuse treatment? If you’re struggling with depression, anxiety, or another psychiatric disorder, you need a treatment program that integrates mental health care with drug or alcohol rehab.
  • Do you have coexisting health conditions that require care? Conditions like diabetes, heart disease, or severe alcoholism require more intensive monitoring, typically in a residential setting.
  • Have you been to rehab before? If you’ve tried rehab in the past without success, you’re not alone; most substance abusers relapse multiple times before finding their way to lasting recovery. If you’ve had multiple relapses, you may benefit from a structured, supervised environment that’s removed from the stresses of your daily life.

Choosing an addiction treatment center isn’t a decision you should have to make alone. A psychiatrist, therapist or addiction counselor should evaluate your specific needs and assess your physical and emotional health before recommending the best treatment program for you.

Why Choose Black Bear Lodge?

Georgia offers a wide variety of addiction treatment options within its major metropolitan areas. But when you’re trying to overcome a disease like addiction, you need a respite from the stress and chaos of your day-to-day life. Black Bear Lodge is nestled in the foothills of northern Georgia, in a forested haven that will soothe and inspire you. The serenity of the Appalachian Mountains and the privacy of our resort-like facility will help you stay focused on your recovery. Far from the stressors of the city and the distractions of home life, you can find the inner peace you’ve been looking for.

Rehab at Black Bear Lodge is a truly transformative experience. To create personalized treatment plans for our clients, we draw from a full range of recovery resources:

  • Dialectical Behavior Therapy
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
  • Acceptance and Commitment Therapy
  • Family counseling
  • Grief/loss therapy
  • Expressive therapies
  • Adventure therapy
  • Nutrition and wellness counseling
  • Psychoeducational groups

Through intensive one-on-one counseling, holistic therapies, and behavioral modification therapy, you’ll find the support you need to complete the healing process. To learn more about our state-of-the-art, individualized rehab programs, call our toll-free number today.