The beautiful, tree-lined streets of Atlanta, Georgia, are not as picturesque as they may seem. Addiction lurks behind and in front of closed doors. It is an acknowledged, city-wide problem and a personal, private concern. There is no stereotypical drug user. It may be the homeless man on the corner you’d expect to struggle with addiction. It is just as likely to be a friend, coworker, spouse, parent or even yourself. Addiction doesn’t target certain people. Under the right circumstances, anyone can develop a drug or alcohol use problem.


Who Gets Addicted?

georgia_facilitiesAnyone can become addicted. Some risk factors make addiction more likely. One of these is growing up in a home where drugs are misused. Pediatrics explains, “Children of parents with substance use disorders (SUDs) are at greater risk of later mental health and behavioral problems, including SUDs.”1 Growing up around an SUD doesn’t have to involve living in poverty or in the wrong area of town. Pediatrics continues, “1 in 5 children grows up in a home in which someone uses drugs or misuses alcohol. The exact number of children living with adults with SUDs is unknown; however, an estimated 8.3 million children younger than 18 years (12%) were residing with at least one substance-dependent or substance-using parent between 2002 and 2007.”  Children in Georgia and across the country grow up thinking substance use is normal. They see drugs as an easy or quick answer for emotional, mental and physical health concerns. They have easier access to drugs and may start using them at a younger age. The younger a person is when he or she first drinks or uses drugs, the more likely future addiction becomes.

This doesn’t mean addiction is only a problem for young people. Adults and senior citizens find themselves facing problems related to substance use. WebMD reports that “Baby boomers aged 55 to 59 more than doubled their use of illicit drugs since 2002 (from 1.9% to 4.1%).”2 Older adults are at risk for addiction. No matter your age, race, social status or income level, you can become addicted. It is never too late to develop a substance use problem. It is never too late to reach out for help and recover.

How Does Georgia Compare?

high_ratesLocation and environment influence addiction development. Residents in Georgia may be less at risk for some addiction-related concerns. According to the Office of National Drug Control Policy, in 2011, “Georgia drug-induced deaths (11.6 per 100,000 population) were lower than the national rate (12.9 per 100,000).”3 This isn’t a significant difference, but it does suggest that Georgia may offer programs, policies, and resources that other states do not.

Some of this difference may reside in the scope and quality of care Georgia’s addiction treatment programs provide. Georgia takes pride in the quality of their addiction treatment services. Facilities are overseen by state-based governing agencies. No treatment program in Georgia may operate without appropriate licenses. Facilities within the state are required to abide by specific intake, assessment and admission procedures. They must also adhere to state-set guidelines on treatment protocols, discharge plans, aftercare help, and emergency preparedness. Staffing guidelines mandate the credentials and licenses required to be an employee of a treatment center in the state. These industry standards meet or exceed national averages.

Finding treatment for substance abuse in Georgia is no longer the struggle it was in years gone by. Today the Peach State is home to 220 addiction rehab facilities.4 Many of these facilities recognize and treat co-occurring disorders. A co-occurring disorder involves addiction plus one or more mental health issues. The National Alliance on Mental Illness reports: “About a third of all people experiencing mental illnesses and about half of people living with severe mental illnesses also experience substance abuse. These statistics are mirrored in the substance abuse community, where about a third of all alcohol abusers and more than half of all drug abusers report experiencing a mental illness.”5 Mental health and addiction often overlap. Integrated mental, physical and addiction health care is essential for complete and lasting recovery.

Finding Effective Addiction Treatment

In recent years, access to substance abuse treatment has expanded primarily due to the implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). This act considers mental health care and addiction treatment “essential health benefits.” They must be covered and must be covered to the same extent as physical care, by any plan offered through the ACA Marketplace. Laws have also changed coverage requirements for private, employer-offered and government-sponsored plans. These plans typically have to offer equal coverage for mental health and addiction treatment as well.

In 2012, 21,129 people sought treatment for a substance abuse problem in Georgia.6 You will never be alone in recovery. You will find the peers, professionals and therapy options that will support your recovery. Treatment options range from the most studied and standard therapies to modern techniques. Care may include Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, grief counseling, mindfulness practices, and holistic medicinal therapies. Treatment is effective when you find the right care, complete the program and continue to actively participate in aftercare. Georgia treatment centers help you or a loved one accomplish all this.

Black Bear Lodge offers the tools and resources you need. We are here any time to answer your questions and guide your recovery. Please reach out. Call 706-914-2327, and learn more today.


1 Smith, Vincent; Wilson, Celeste. “Families Affected by Parental Substance Use.” Pediatrics. Jul. 2016. Accessed 10 Aug. 2017.

2 Colihan, Kelley. “Who Uses and Abuses Drugs and Alcohol?” WebMD. 4 Sep. 2008. Accessed 10 Aug. 2017.

3 Office of National Drug Control Policy. “Georgia Drug Control Update.” 31 Jul. 2013. Accessed 10 Aug. 2017.

4 Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. “Behavioral Health Treatment Services Locator.” Accessed 10 Aug. 2017.

5 National Alliance on Mental Illness. “Dual Diagnosis.” Accessed 10 Aug. 2017.

6 Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. “National Survey of Substance Abuse Treatment Services.” 2012. Accessed 11 Aug. 2017.