Prescription Drug Treatment in Georgia

Last updated: Tuesday, 09, November 2021


The most addictive prescription drugs cause a phenomenon known as physical dependence. Prescription opioids and prescription benzodiazepine tranquilizers are typical examples of medications that do this. Sadly, because prescription drugs are received from a doctor or other qualified health practitioner, many people think they are safe or won't become addicted. But many people who go on to use street drugs and illicit substances first began abusing prescription drugs they obtained legally.

Physical dependence causes drug withdrawal and is an incredibly uncomfortable and sometimes deadly condition that sometimes requires prescription drug detox in Georgia or anywhere else in the country to do safely. Withdrawal from prescription drugs happens when a person has become dependent and then stops taking them or tries to quit. The body has adjusted chemically to the drug's continuous presence, so now it is at an imbalance without it. This can cause anything from insomnia and pain symptoms to seizures and death depending on the drug abused and the severity of the addiction.

Thankfully, prescription drug treatment often includes medically supervised detox as a part of the program. Medical detoxification ensures the person makes it through the potentially life-threatening process safely and is a first step to getting treatment for many. But detox is not treatment, and it's essential to understand the distinction.

Prescription drug treatment in Georgia gives people the tools needed to stay drug-free after they've detoxed. People who use detox as a replacement for treatment usually relapse quickly because they haven't gained the skills needed to prevent themselves from going down the same road. One should always transition immediately from detox to treatment. Most detox facilities are set up to transfer people directly to treatment upon completion but cannot force someone to do that. If the detox is a part of a larger treatment facility, detox may be viewed as the "first step" of the program, but it is different from rehabilitation. Detox is about treating symptoms, whereas rehabilitation treats the causes.

There are several types of prescription drug treatment in Georgia. Programs that use prescription drugs to treat prescription drug addiction should always be avoided, despite whatever rationale is used to explain their approach. Reinforcing drugs as a solution to life's problems, particularly to addiction, is the antithesis of treatment.

A much better fit for many people is the traditional drug and alcohol rehabs that have saved countless lives over the decades. Traditional programs are what most people think of when they imagine rehab. They are usually about a month in length and are impatient. Most traditional programs follow the twelve-step developed by Alcoholics Anonymous, which has proven to be effective at treating many different forms of addiction and compulsive behavior.

Holistic treatment for prescription drug abuse is another great option for anyone looking for help. Holistic programs use no unnecessary drugs or medications at any phase. They focus on health and nutrition to combat the effects of drugs and utilize counseling to address core issues that lead people back to using substances to cope with life. This kind of help is often more intensive and lengthier than other forms, but the long-term results are worth the time and effort.

Georgia Prescription Drug Possession Penalties

Because there are so many different kinds of drugs of abuse, they have been categorized into what is known as "schedules." Schedules rank drugs according to how dangerous they are and how useful they are medically.

At the top of this list are schedule I drugs like heroin that cannot be legally possessed whatsoever. These drugs are reported as deadly and addictive and having no medical use. Schedule II through Schedule V controlled substances are all regulated by prescription only. Schedule II drugs (for example, cocaine, methamphetamine, Hydrocodone, opium, and Codeine, etc.) are restricted to medical purposes and require a prescription. Schedule III (steroids), Schedule IV (Xanax and Valium), and Schedule V drugs are those that must be lawfully prescribed and have varying potential for abuse.

Unlawful possession of a Schedule I Controlled Substance, Schedule II narcotic, or Schedule II non-narcotic is a felony punishable by a term of incarceration of 2 to 30 years, depending on the quantity. Unlawful possession of Schedule III, IV, or V controlled substance is a felony and punishable by a 1 to a 5-year term of incarceration.

Unlawful sale/distribution of any Schedule I or II Controlled Substance is a felony punishable by a term of incarceration of one to 30 years in prison, depending on quantity. Sale of any Schedule III, IV, or V Controlled Substance is a felony punishable by one to ten years in prison, depending on the amount.

Georgia Prescription Drug Statistics

  • In 2008-2009, an estimated 360,000 (4.62 percent) of Georgians aged 12 and older reported using pain relievers nonmedically. Of the 360,000 users, 51,000 (14 percent) were 12 to 17 years old, 120,000 were between 18 and 25 (33 percent), and 189,000 (53 percent) were 26 years of age and older. 
  • Nearly seven percent (6.6 percent) of those 12 to 17 used pain relievers nonmedically. As is true nationally, 18 to 25-year olds had the highest rates of illicit drug use in Georgia (31.2 percent) and the highest rate of use of prescription pain relievers (11.4 percent). 
  • According to Georgia Student Health Survey ii (GSHS), approximately 1,020 6th graders, 1,859 8th graders, 1,832 9th graders, 2,330 10th graders, 2,164 11th graders, and 2,402 12th graders reported having used prescription drugs not prescribed to them at least once during the past 30 days. 
  • Students in higher grades tended to report a higher prevalence of prescription drug use, as well as higher frequencies of use. 
  • Ease of access to prescription drugs increased according to students' grade level. Nearly 40 percent (36.9%) of 12 graders reported that they strongly agreed it was easy to obtain prescription drugs not prescribed to them. Similar percentages were found among 10th graders (32 percent) and 11th graders (34.7 percent), while over a quarter of 9th graders (26.9 percent) strongly agreed it was easy to obtain prescription medicines not prescribed to them. 
  • In 2008-2009, 1.64 percent of Georgians aged 12 and older suffered from dependence on illicit drugs. An estimated 2.37 percent of Georgians aged 12 and older needed but did not receive treatment for illegal drug use.  
  • Georgia admissions for the treatment of opiates other than heroin among those aged 12 and older increased from 295 per 100,000 in 1999 to 599 per 100,000 in 2005.
  • Prescription drug overdose deaths in Georgia continue to rise, accounting for 76% of the state's accidental drug deaths.  
  • There was a 10% increase in the number of prescription overdose deaths in 2010 compared to 2009 in the 152 counties analyzed.

In Georgia, over 60% of drug overdose deaths involved opioids, with 866 fatalities (a rate of 8.3) reported in 2018.

  • Prescription opioid-involved deaths declined to 440 (a rate of 4.1), and those involving synthetic opioids other than methadone (mainly fentanyl and fentanyl analogs) decreased to 349 (a rate or 3.4) in 2018.
  • Deaths involving heroin continued to rise, with 299 (a rate of 2.9) reported in 2018.

In 2018, Georgia providers wrote 63.2 opioid prescriptions for every 100 persons, compared to the average U.S. rate of 51.4 prescriptions. This is the lowest rate in the state since 2006 when this data became available.

Below, you will find a list of medical detox for Prescribed Medication addiction in Georgia. The list may be incomplete, so if you have a hard time finding the proper service, call one of our treatment specialists at 1-800-304-2219.

List of Medical Detox for Prescription Drug Abuse in Georgia


Marcel Gemme, DATS


on November 9, 2021

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Marcel Gemme has been helping people struggling with addiction for over 19 years. He first started as an intake counselor for a drug rehabilitation center in 2000. During his 5 years as an intake counselor, he helped many addicts get the treatment they needed. He also dealt with the families and friends of those people; he saw first-hand how much strain addiction puts on a family and how it can tear relationships apart. With drug and alcohol problems constantly on the rise in the United States and Canada, he decided to use the Internet as a way to educate and help many more people in both those countries. This was 15 years ago. Since then, Marcel has built two of the largest websites in the U.S. and Canada which reach and help millions of people each year. He is an author and a leader in the field of drug and alcohol addiction. His main focus is threefold: education, prevention and rehabilitation. To this day, he still strives to be at the forefront of technology in order to help more and more people. He is a Licensed Drug and Alcohol Treatment Specialist graduate with Honours of Stratford Career Institute. Marcel has also received a certificate from Harvard for completing a course entitled The Opioid Crisis in America and a certificate from The University of Adelaide for completing a course entitled AddictionX: Managing Addiction: A Framework for Succesful Treatment.