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Arlington’s citizens are all too aware of the detrimental effects substance abuse can have – not just on the individual who is abusing drugs and alcohol but on loved ones, too. Texas is home to a large number of people who abuse drugs and alcohol. Their issues of substance abuse are likely compounded and fueled by the state’s close proximity to the Mexican border, which increases accessibility to illicit substances.
Many who engage in substance abuse have their lives cut short by overdose. Deaths stemming from drug related overdoses rose by over 150 percent between 1999 and 2007.1
Likewise, with such a booming drug trade in progress across the state, Texas is home to a large number of incarcerated drug offenders. During 2014, 139,471 people were arrested on drug-related charges in Texas, and 7,200 of them were minors.2
Federal prisons housed 94,600 drug offenders in 2011 — accounting for 48 percent of the nation’s prison population.3 Some of these people are serving shorter sentences of a few months for possessions of small amounts of drugs, while others may be spending the rest of their lives in a jail cell after being convicted of trafficking illicit substances like heroin and cocaine into the state.
Alcohol-related crimes have serious consequences, and Arlington isn’t lenient on its residents just because the substance is legal. Drinking and driving comes with the risk of a few days to a few years in prison and fines in excess of thousands of dollars. In 2014, 70,569 people were arrested in Texas for driving under the influence of alcohol.4 This type of behavior contributed to 12 deaths stemming from automobile accidents where alcohol was involved in Arlington that year.5
Alcohol abuse is rampant in the Lone Star State, with residents consuming more beer, wine, and liquor on average than the national consumption rate. In 2010, Texans consumed 2.23 gallons of alcohol per capita — just under the 2.24 gallon national rate.6 Of the nearly 27 million people who live in Texas,7 around 6.5 percent of those aged 12 or older were dependent on alcohol between 2011 and 2012.8 As so few seek treatment, the vast majority live out their lives battling addictions they don’t want to face or believe they can’t beat.
In 2013, around 18,146 people died from alcoholic liver disease in America — a consequence of heavy alcohol abuse.9 What constitutes that level of abuse? It is generally promoted as a safe behavior for men to have two drinks per day and women to have one, but for some people, no amount of alcohol is safe.10
Arlington is located in Tarrant County, Texas. In 2012, around 5.3 percent of Tarrant County’s female population and 8.3 percent of males in the county fit the criteria for heavy drinking.11 Binge drinking is something 10.6 percent of females and 22.3 percent of males in the county engage in on a frequent enough basis to fit the label.12 Alcohol abuse in any fashion is linked to a higher risk of adverse outcomes, and addiction is just one of them.
Mental health disorders are a fact of life for one in five Americans.13 Mental illness isn’t necessarily the problem, but a lack of treatment for it is. Going untreated allows disorders like schizophrenia and depression to get worse. Individuals who suffer from these disorders lose sight of coping skills and often dive into drugs and alcohol as a way of managing their symptoms.
Frequently, they aren’t even aware that their feelings and behaviors are symptoms or anything abnormal at all. When left to fester, someone with mental illness is at high risk for negative outcomes, such as criminal behavior and suicidal thoughts. Among all prison inmates in the nation, approximately 20 percent have a serious mental health disorder, and 30-60 percent have had trouble with drug or alcohol abuse.14 In Tarrant County, 210 people committed suicide in 2013.15
When people start abusing drugs or alcohol, it may be in a recreational manner, and friends and relatives might even be doing it alongside them. However, what develops into addiction for one person does not for all. It is trying and painful to watch those you care about destroy their lives by way of drug and alcohol abuse. But there is hope.
In 2013, 39,676 people sought help for their substance abuse issues in Texas.16 Plenty go on to recover, and live healthy and happy lives following treatment. There are four treatment facilities in Arlington specifically, but comprehensive mental health treatment isn’t available at these facilities.17
The residents of Arlington, Texas, have a variety of choices when selecting what kind of rehab program best suits their treatment needs. Their options vary from outpatient care, to residential services, to intensive hospitalization. In Texas, these resources are readily available among just various treatment facilities.18
Sometimes outpatient care can be painted as being less than effective or not as thorough as the treatment someone would receive on an inpatient basis. In fact, the premise of inpatient treatment often isn’t to provide more intensive treatment to clients, but to give them a safe place to live free from temptation while they’re in treatment. Many people simply cannot manage attempts at recovery while still surrounded by family or peers who abuse drugs, and passing the corner bar on their way home from work. Inpatient treatment removes those temptations.
It can also be helpful to live in a sober environment once a traditional treatment program is complete. Arlington boasts three sober living facilities that can assist individuals in recovery once they need help transitioning from rehab to everyday life.19
The typical treatment experience involves an intake interview upon arrival at the facility. Sometimes this can be done partially over the phone, but the physical and psychological exams obviously need to be completed in person. Requesting a phone consultation about your treatment needs prior to selecting a rehab facility is always smart though. This is a great way to compare how the staff treats clients and what they can offer in the way of treatment for co-occurring and complex substance abuse cases.
After admission, the primary focus is getting the client started on medical detox. There is no need to delay other aspects of treatment during this phase. In fact, staff members will encourage clients to start participating in support groups and attending therapy sessions immediately. Completing just the withdrawal period alone is not enough to sustain recovery. When the detox period is followed with additional treatment options, such as therapy, within a month of completion, the risk of relapse is significantly impacted. Those individuals who choose this path will take 40 percent longer to relapse, if they ever do.20
Fortunately, payment options in Arlington are just as flexible as treatment is in this pocket of Texas. Half of the facilities in town offer payment assistance features.21 In these cases, clients who can present a financial need or limitation that may otherwise prevent them from seeking treatment may be privy to funding on the treatment center’s behalf or a discount on treatment services altogether. In addition, two of the city’s facilities accept private health insurance.22 Furthermore, three treatment centers in the region accept Medicaid as a form of payment.3 So, individuals that qualify for this type of government-assisted health insurance may be able to seek treatment for their addiction that is paid in full.
Among those who sought treatment in Texas during 2013, 5,931 sought help for alcohol abuse alone while another 5,150 cited both alcohol and other substances as their primary issues.24 In addition, 6,134 people sought help for heroin addiction, 8,375 were in treatment for a dependency on marijuana, 4,222 for cocaine addiction, and another 5,629 for amphetamine abuse.25 These figures align fairly well with the drug abuse climate of the entire state. Marijuana is the most commonly abused drug, and alcohol is the most commonly abused substance overall statewide and in Arlington.
It is imperative that any facility an individual may choose for treatment is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities and employs licensed medical professionals who are capable of treating clients that require high levels of care. Detox can be dangerous, even deadly, when it isn’t managed correctly. As a result, a licensed physician must oversee medical detox programs.
Furthermore, the better the care an individual receives during the initial phases of treatment, the more inclined that person will be to stick with treatment. Treatment completion rates vary a great deal from person to person and among types of treatment. The overall completion rate in 2011 was just 44 percent.26 Completion rates among discharged individuals in 2011 by type of treatment were as follows:
Relapse is often a given for those who give up on treatment early. In fact, even when treatment is completed, studies show that it may be less effective if the treatment period is shorter than 90 days.28
Additional resources for those in Arlington who need assistance with addiction issues include the North Texas Addiction Counseling and Education Organization, the Texas Department of State Health Services, and the Recovery Resource Council.
Arlington calls itself the “American Dream City.” That is due, in part, to the fact that automobiles are built in Arlington, the Dallas Cowboys are in Arlington, and the Texas Rangers call Arlington home. An American team, playing American sports, in a city in which American cars are built makes Arlington really one of a kind. It also makes Arlington a very positive city. All of the residents know that the place they live is truly special, and most have a pride that outsiders can feel.
All of that positivity extends to drug addiction treatment. The citizens of Arlington know that addiction is a disease of the brain, and they know that treatment can make addiction-related problems fade. That is why there are so many addiction treatment providers in the area. These are just a few of them: