Local substance abuse: Atlanta, Georgia

Georgia Council on Abuse impact study states that 50% of all homicides and 62% of assaults is associated with substance abuse. Georgia’s population of 369,393 in 2003 statistics showed that 32.1% was composed by White and 59.3% by Black African American. In 2004 Atlanta was reported to have 151 homicides. 18% of aids in Atlanta were also found to be related to injection users.
Substance abuse is defined to be the excessive use of a substance such as drugs, tobacco or cigarettes and alcohol for mood altering purposes. The profile of substance abuse in Atlanta seems to scare the national strategy on drug control. The third principle referring to disrupting the market may not be able to effectively invade the already ongoing drug war in the vicinity. I think there is a cross country need to look into the problem of intergenerational healing of families in Atlanta than just mean policies and intervention.
Users of drug Methamphetamine (Meth), being readily available in Atlanta nightclubs, ranges from ages 13-30, White. Atlanta is defined to be the drug smuggling corridor of the east coast being the largest city in the South. Being the center for all East-West and North-South travel, it became a haven for most Mexican-based traffickers. Atlanta’s strategic location made it Georgia’s largest source of supply of Meth coming from Mexico, California, or Texas, from the lairs of Europe in transit for distribution to other states market. (ONDCP 2005).

The Meth epidemic in Atlanta poses significant effect to socio cultural factors, state policy and programs for intervention. Atlanta is presently a major distribution hub for the crystal rock form of Meth commonly called as Mexican ice. The impact of the substance abuse epidemic on tobacco, alcohol, cocaine and other illegal drugs among infants delivered by users has significantly impede the quality of life in Georgia’s future generation being a recourse for open-air drug markets.
Their quality of life is pretty disturbing to note that first use of drugs was reported to start as young as 12 years old due to parental permissiveness on drug use. Studies showed that parents were even underwriting keg parties for teenagers. This was their unique experimentation and response to providing safe drug alternatives among teenagers.
This will also lessen potential dangers brought by drinking and driving. Somehow Georgia legislature in 1997 implementing stiffer penalties to teenagers driving while impaired by alcohol consumption has even increased the population for substance abusers in an unknowingly different way and at an unknowingly different rate. It was seen that parents who initiated such keg parties are the ones who grew up from a generation of high drug used.
To illustrate more on the problem of substance abuse, the University of Georgia is now even planning to send creepy emails to all of its college students regarding the effects of Meth. The intensity of substance abuse and the insensitivity of the parents with diverse ethnic origins to adopt a new life from the neighborhood they knew were quite amazing and does coexist with the rampant drug trafficking Atlanta scenario.
Interventions come in diverse approaches according to the needs of the individual and the situation of the state itself. Since 2000 Atlanta has been delving on the aid of local television advertisements regarding the harmful effects of drugs.
A centralized phone number is then provided where calls were then referred to the appropriate centers or programs the caller needs according to the intensity of the abuse. The selection of drug rehab treatment and facility is ultimately based and tailor made depending on the choice of the patient.
Treatment Episode Data Set (TEDS) and the National Survey of Substance Abuse Treatment Services (N-SSATS) were the ones collecting data on different States for monitoring. TEDS provides information on the demographic and substance abuse characteristics based on annual admissions while N-SSATS provides data based on the location, characteristics and use of treatment facilities and services.
TEDS is admission based and does not have the appropriate technology to monitor such admission based on the individual. It can count on an individual twice if it will be admitted twice in a row at that period of study. Knowing that substance abuse patient’s characteristics come and go from admissions to outpatients, the population generated by its study does not represent the true value of the population and is thereby misleading.
TEDS is not capable of following an individual in their treatment episodes due to the confidentiality of assigning a unique ID identifier at State level. There is one big probability that the number of admissions population that was gathered by TEDS could mean the number of treatments an individual had not to mention cases of subsequent transfers done to different service types for a single treatment program.
Promptness of reports also matters since late reports for that period will be integrated with the next period’s report. States continually review TEDS data and revisions may occur at any given time during the review even for a period of five years. N-SSATS on the other hand collects data from all known treatment facilities in voluntary form. The term voluntary itself would mean incomplete information.  (SAMHSA 2005).
The local and national reports could well differ in terms of the population. Statistics is vital for use in the treatment and intervention programs that will be created by ONCDP for Atlanta. The unique ID identifier made by the State is good enough to track the substance abuse patient’s admissions and transfers. The report system of the facilities and the government is not integrated and does not support each other. The structure of their IT must be studied and immediately remedied to achieve appropriate data to be able to create appropriate measures for substance abuse control.
ONDCP. (2005). Atlanta, Georgia: Profile of drug indicators February 2005. Retrieved April
13, 2007
SAMHSA. (2005). Treatment Episode Data Sets (TEDS) and National Survey of Substance
Abuse Treatment Services (N-SSATS). Quick statistics from the drug and alcohol
services information system. Retrieved April 14, 2007
Website: http://wwwdasis.samhsa.gov/webt/tedsweb/tab_year.choose_year?t_state=GA

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