addiction

John Amis / AP

U.S. Rep Henry “Hank” Johnson walked away from all drugs and alcohol more than 25 years ago, he shared for the first time with GPB News in an exclusive interview.

“I don't drink, I don't smoke. I don't do anything that hurts my body,” Johnson said. “And that has not always been the case.”

Keith Srakocic / AP

Susan Barge wants more outrage.

The co-founder of Navigate Recovery Gwinnett wonders why people aren't paying attention to an epidemic that continues to take around 70,000 lives a year: opioids.

Jessica Gurell / GPB

Many people are finding social distancing difficult or lonely. Those challenges can become compounded for people recovering from substance abuse disorders. In fact, the coronavirus pandemic and resulting quarantine conditions have been identified as a “relapse trigger.”

And it has become a dangerous reality for those who struggle with sobriety. The Georgia Council on Substance Abuse estimates that some 800,000 Georgians are in recovery from alcohol and drug addiction.


Son Preston Wysocki (left) and mother Heather Wysocki visit the grave of brothers/son Austin Hart and Dustin Hart Saturday, March 14, 2020.
Ellen Eldridge / GPB News

Staying home while sick is exactly what gets addicts into trouble. The illness is addiction, and the cure for many recovering from drug and alcohol addiction is people. They fear what isolation could mean to their sobriety.


Jaxon Photo Group

Nearly 1.6 million Americans will likely spend the holidays in a homeless shelter or some form of transitional housing.

A study by the National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty found laws criminalizing homeless people have multiplied in the last decade. Other studies find charges and prosecutions of the homeless does nothing to address its root causes. 


Governor Kemp recently announced his proposals for Medicaid waivers for the state. To help breakdown what the proposals could mean for your pocketbook, On Second Thought was joined by Andy Miller from Georgia Health News and Ariel Hart from the Atlanta Journal Constitution.


AP Images/Bebeto Matthews

Georgia is among the top 11 states when it comes to most prescription opioid overdose deaths. President Trump declared the opioid crisis a national public health emergency in 2017.

Earlier this year, state agencies received $10.3 million in federal funding to expand access to medication-assisted treatment for opioid addiction and overdose. While federal funding could make a dent in adult dependency, Sesame Street aims to support children affected by parental addiction.


John Minchillo / AP

The Georgia Department of Public Health released numbers last week showing the number of prescriptions for opioids written in the state has fallen. But a recent study shows the state has one of the lowest rates of painkiller misuse in the country at 3.7%.

Dave Collins / AP

Fatal drug overdoses in Cobb County dropped year over year according to new data, but  officials aren’t comfortable calling the drop a trend. 

According to the Cobb County Medical Examiner’s annual report, 2018 drug deaths dropped by nearly a quarter from 2017. Opioid related fatalities dropped by more than half. But overdose deaths were almost twice as common as deaths from car crashes.


Georgia Council on Substance Abuse

Billboards, telling stories of recovery from addiction, are now live across the state. The campaign was announced earlier this month by Georgia Recovers.

The money for the billboard campaign comes from Congress’s response to the opioid crisis, and the funds were distributed by the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities, Georgia Council on Substance Abuse Executive Director Neil Campbell said.

Jessica Gurell / GPB

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there have been more than 200,000 opioid-related deaths in the United States over the last two decades. Georgia has some of the nation's hardest-hit counties. White users have largely been the face of the epidemic, but the problem affects every demographic.


Gov. Brian Kemp and his wife Marty Kemp greet President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump as they arrive at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport to attend the "Rx Drug Abuse and Heroin Summit," Wednesday, April 24, 2019, in Atlanta.
Evan Vucci / AP

Speaking at the National Rx Drug and Heroin Abuse Summit in Atlanta, President Donald Trump told attendees that his support for faith-based initiatives was critical for the effort to combat the opioid crisis. 


Wikimedia Commons

E-cigarettes hit the market not too long ago as an aid to quit smoking. The CDC reported in 2015 that more than 9 million American adults vape regularly. Juuls are the new trendy e-cigarette that have become very popular among teens. It's an USB size e-cigarette that uses "pods" for the source of nicotine. College and high school campuses are having issues with the amount of teenagers who are taking on this new nicotine fad.

 

 


Jessica Gurell / GPB

Dr. James Black wants opiate drug seekers to know not to look in his emergency room.

“You know, we're not going to be easy prey, so to speak, for people with repeated usage,” Black said. Black is the director of emergency medicine at the Phobe Putney Medical Center in Albany.

In the context of national trends, Southwest Georgia doesn’t have it as bad as other places. Opiate use is in decline here, but Black said he has seen his fair share of overdoses.

When young people struggle through addiction or substance abuse, there's also the question of school. Getting behind academically can be detrimental to learning and future success, but traditional school can be tough for kids whose peer groups use drugs or alcohol and where treatment resources can be limited.

Could smartphones and other screens be decreasing the human attention span? Author Adam Alter thinks so.

"Ten years ago, before the iPad and iPhone were mainstream, the average person had an attention span of about 12 seconds," Alter tells Fresh Air's Dave Davies. Now, he says, "research suggests that there's been a drop from 12 to eight seconds ... shorter than the attention of the average goldfish, which is nine seconds."