Alabama Addiction Treatment and Info

Alabama, like the rest of the United States, has seen a rise in the rates of the abuse of prescription pain relief medication and heroin. This rise is particularly clear from the high overdose statistics reported in the state.

Addiction in Alabama

Research studies report that the current opioid crisis plaguing Alabama started when more people started using prescription opioids in the early 1990s. over time, some of them moved to heroin because it is cheaper and more widely available.

As a result of this, drug cartels started trafficking heroin in larger amounts. Today, the state government in partnership with the federal government has been increasing funding for the treatment of addiction, as well as for addiction education on the various dangers posed by prescription medication.

When it first hit the market, heroin was mostly abused in inner cities. However, today the drug is so commonly available that even middle aged people living in well to do suburb abuse it.

According to the Department of Public Health, it is estimated that more than 2.4 percent of the population of Alabama aged 17 years and old have abused illicit substances at least in their lives. This number comprises of more than 91,000 people.

As mentioned above, prescription pain relief medications are among the most commonly abused substances in the state. For instance, more than 170,000 people have abused these medications by failing to follow their doctor's recommendation or by using them for a non-medical reason. It is also estimated that more than 300,000 people in Alabama are addicted to opioids.

Although most of the drug arrests and seizures reported in Alabama were linked to marijuana, the state continues struggling with growing rates of cocaine hydrochloride and crack cocaine abuse.

Illicit substances such as methamphetamine, marijuana, and cocaine also account for some of the largest volumes of intoxicating substances that are being trafficked into the state.

Most of the cocaine in this state is supplied from Mexico through the states of Texas, Arizona, and California. The fact that Alabama is so close to Miami and Atlanta further accentuates this problem.

Other figures estimate that there are 2060 people addicted to heroin, more than 221000 addicted to marijuana, as well as over 36000 who abuse cocaine on a regular basis and develop a substance use disorder as a result.

Commonly Abused Substances in Alabama

But which addictive substances are most commonly abused in this state? Consider the following information relating to the rates of drug abuse and addiction reported in Alabama:

1. Alcohol

Research studies show that the rates of binge drinking in Alabama are lower than in the rest of the United States. Consider the following figures

  • 4.45 percent of people aged between 12 and 17 engaged in binge drinking
  • More than 22 percent of the residents of Alabama above the age of 18 engaged in this harmful form of alcohol consumption

According to the BHB - Behavioral Health Barometers - survey released by SAMHSA - the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration - from 2009 through to 2013, more than 225,000 people above the age of 12 were alcohol dependent every year.

In 2010, a total of 4635 people enrolled in a drug rehab center for abusing alcohol and becoming addicted to it - where alcohol as the only substance of abuse. An additional 2764 people received similar treatment for abusing alcohol with another secondary drug.

2. Cocaine

Cocaine is not abused in rates that are as high as at the national level. For instance, less than 0.5 percent of local residents aged between 12 and 17 abused this substance while about 1.3 percent of those aged 18 years and older did.

Since Alabama has a large supply of cocaine, it comes as no surprise that this drug is one of the most significant substances of abuse among local residents. In 2010, a total of 2108 people enrolled in a drug rehab center in the state for smoking this substance. Another 842 people received similar treatment services for abusing cocaine through alternative methods of administration.

3. Marijuana

The same year, marijuana was mentioned by the greatest number of people checking into addiction treatment centers in Alabama. That year, a total of 6945 people were treated for abusing this substance.

Similarly, the state witnessed rates of marijuana abuse that were lower than those reported at the national stage. 5.2 percent of people aged between 12 and 17 years reported abusing this drug, while more than 5 percent of those above the age of 18 engaged in this form of substance abuse.

4. Heroin and Other Opioids

National studies show that Alabama physicians prescribe the highest numbers of opioids in the United States. In 2015, for instance, close to 6 million prescriptions were written for these medications. This number was equal greater than the total population of the state.

According to the Annual Surveillance Report of Drug Related Risks and Outcomes released by the CDC - the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention - Alabama doctors prescribed 121 opioids for every segment of 100 residents.

Although the trends of past year heroin use in Alabama are similar to levels at the national stage, teens seem to be using this drug in reduced frequency. Only about 0.01 percent of people aged between 12 and 17 years, for instance, reported abusing heroin. At the same time, 0.35 percent of residents above the age of 18 years did.

However, the rates of prescription opioid pain relief medication abuse have been on the rise. About 5 percent of residents between the ages of 12 and 17 engaged in this form of substance abuse while 5.15 percent of residents above the age of 18 did.

Drug Related Fatalities and Injuries in Alabama

The Department of Corrections of Alabama released a report in 2014 showing that more than 2733 inmates completed an addiction treatment program. An additional 2059 inmates were enrolled in an aftercare recovery program.

Of the 41 specialty courts reported in Alabama in 2009, 3 were focused on domestic violence while 6 were juvenile drug courts.

In 2012, a total of 10,083 people were arrested while driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs. of this number, 2911 were female while 6632 were male, and 542 cases did not report the gender of the driver.

Addiction Prevention in Alabama

There are several measures in place designed to address the growing substance abuse and addiction crisis in Alabama. These measures include:

  • Changes in the labeling requirements for all immediate-release opioids due to efforts from the FDA - the Food and Drug Administration
  • Hydrocodone is increasingly controlled by the DEA - the Drug Enforcement Administration
  • The FDA has support efforts for the development of opioid medications that reduce the risk of abuse and addiction
  • There are detailed guidelines from the CDC - the Centers for Drug Control and Prevention - that doctors can follow while prescribing addictive medications

Public health agencies and lawmakers in Alabama have also been striving to ensure that addicts have the assistance they require to achieve a state of recovery. For instance, the state passed a Good Samaritan Law in 2015 that effectively protects everyone who reports a drug overdose incident - including those that involve illicit substances.

Further, the state has increased the production and supply of naloxone. This medication is now available even to people without a prescription - because it is effective in reversing the adverse and sometimes fatal effects of an opioid drug overdose.

Recommendations from SAMHSA - the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration - have also been implemented in Alabama. These recommendations include but are not limited:

  • Increasing access to recovery and treatment services for addicts
  • Providing recovery, treatment, and prevention programs to reduce and address the opioid epidemic
  • Reducing the total unmet needs for addiction treatment in the state
  • SAMHSA also provided more close to $8 billion that the state could use for the period running from May 2017 through to April 2018.
  • Enhancing drug rehab retention rates
  • Expanding access to addiction treatment services
  • Implementing community-based addiction education and prevention programs
  • Improving public awareness on various issues related to addictive substances
  • Increasing access to various FDA-approved medications for use in the treatment of addiction
  • Increasing the supply of naloxone, especially in areas with the highest rates of opioid overdose and fatalities
  • The action plan that Alabama has instituted is focused on:
  • Training Alabama healthcare providers, particularly those who work in the addiction recovery industry

Addiction Treatment in Alabama

In 2010, more than 75 percent of the entire population of Alabama that was on the local Insurance Exchange program in the state were non-Hispanic black or white males between the ages of 18 and 34.

In 2011, over 15,000 people were enrolled in a drug rehab and treatment facility. The same year, the N-SSATS - the National Survey of Substance Abuse Treatment Services - for Alabama reported that the state had a total of 147 centers offering addiction recovery services.

Of these centers, 103 were providing treatment for substance abuse and addiction only while 33 offered dual diagnosis treatment for people who were addicted and also struggling with co-occurring mental health and medical disorders.

There are various levels of addiction treatment available in Alabama. These programs are often classified into inpatient and outpatient drug rehabs. Read on to find out more about these options:

a) Medical Detox

The goal of detox - the first step in most addiction treatment programs - is to manage all withdrawal symptoms and drug cravings that arise when you give up your favorite substances of abuse.

In a medical detox program, you will receive the medical assistance, supervision, and care that you need when you start working on overcoming your physical dependence. Through these services, you will be able to recover in a controlled environment.

b) Inpatient Drug Rehab

After you have completed the detox program, you will receive specialized drug rehabilitation services either on an inpatient or an outpatient basis. If you choose inpatient or residential addiction treatment, you will have to move into the recovery center.

This form of treatment is highly recommended especially because it is the only way you can remove yourself from the environmental triggers and stressful settings that might cause you to continue abusing drugs.

Some of the therapies offered through inpatient addiction recovery programs include but are not limited to:

  • 12 step and non-12 step support groups, including Narcotics Anonymous and Alcoholics Anonymous
  • Aftercare programming
  • Addiction education
  • Behavioral therapy
  • Complementary therapies, including yoga, meditation, massage therapy, and acupuncture
  • Couples counseling
  • Family counseling
  • Group therapy
  • Individual counseling
  • Life skills training
  • Nutrition education
  • Physical fitness and exercise opportunities
  • Stress management

c) Outpatient Drug Rehab

Although you may have already been through an inpatient drug rehab, you may still feel that you need to continue working through your recovery. Alternatively, you may have been diagnosed with a mild substance use disorder that did not require inpatient treatment.

In all these situations, outpatient drug rehab might be the right solution for you. It will provide you with most of the therapies that you would typically find in a residential treatment center.

However, it comes with one advantage - you will be able to go back to your home and your daily routine once you have completed your treatment sessions at the outpatient drug rehab center.

This type of program might prove effective at providing you with the recovery support and encouragement that you are going to need while making the transition from inpatient treatment to living more independently at home or in a sober living center.

Getting Help

If you have been abusing drugs or alcohol in higher doses or more frequently than you used to, it is recommended that you enroll in an addiction treatment and rehabilitation program sooner rather than later. This is the only way you will be able to get the medical help that you need to overcome your growing substance abuse, tolerance, dependence, and addiction - as well as turn your lifestyle around in Alabama from drugs to productive and fulfilling living.


For more information about treatment centers in Alabama, Click Here.

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