Baton Rouge lies at a crossroads of many influences. Interstate 10, the major transit route across the southern United States, passes right through the city which also sits on the east bank of the mighty Mississippi River.
It’s a modern state capital while also embodying a cultural mix of bayou, plantation and genteel Southern customs. Life in Baton Rouge combines heritages from France, Spain, Africa and England.
This eclectic mix of influences in no way protects the citizenry of Baton Rouge from the often-fatal consequences of drug addiction and overdoses.
Drug Rehab in Baton Rouge
Eliminating a problem like addiction takes effective rehabilitation services. For the people of Baton Rouge, drug rehab is in fairly short supply. There are only 16 drug rehabs in the parish, and more than 400,000 residents.
According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), more than one in ten people in the state are currently using drugs. So this could indicate that Baton Rouge has 40,000 drug users. One in fourteen suffers from an illicit drug disorder.1 At any point in time, 25,000 people may need help recovering from addiction. Baton Rouge definitely needs more resources to help those in need of drug rehab.
Choices of Drug Rehab in Louisiana
Scroll through the options provided by SAMHSA on their treatment locator website and you can get more information on each of the drug rehabs on their list. You will see the following choices:
Outpatient: The person in rehab lives at home but maintains a schedule of meetings or services at the drug rehab.
Inpatient: This is a residential program with 24-hour supervision. During the day, each person attends life skills training, counseling services or meetings.
Detoxification: A period of supervised detoxification gets the drugs a person has been using out of their system. This is not drug rehab, however, but is an essential beginning to a person’s recovery when they have been drinking heavily or using drugs like benzodiazepines that can cause seizures while a person is in withdrawal. Alcohol withdrawal in particular can cause high fevers and delirium.
Medication-assisted treatment: This is the label given to treatment with prescription opioid formulas like buprenorphine or Suboxone. But it’s often an inaccurate label because there are many medical practitioners prescribing these drugs to patients who want to get off heroin or fentanyl without providing further care. That means that the medication itself is the treatment, rather than assisting the treatment. Medication-assisted treatment can be a bridge to recovery for some people, but since the medications are themselves addictive, they are not a direct route to full recovery from addiction.
Holistic drug rehab: A holistic drug rehab takes into consideration the whole person and their challenges. The intention is to free the person from the need for drugs by teaching them how to cope with life’s stresses without needing drugs. There is generally a component of this type of program that frees the person from the damaging physical effects of drugs so that they can find relief from cravings.
Therapeutic communities/sober living: Sometimes offering rehab and sometimes offering a refuge after rehab and before returning to life, sober living programs are available in the Baton Rouge area. There are at least four organizations offering this care, with multiple residences available.
Drug Problems in the East Baton Rouge Parish
Louisiana divides up its regions into Parishes and Baton Rouge is in the East Baton Rouge Parish. This area is plagued with a steady stream of drug arrests such as the one in October 2022. Six people in Baton Rouge were arrested and law enforcement seized cocaine, heroin, guns, cars and a quarter million dollars in cash.2
Also in October 2022, a half-pound of fentanyl was seized, along with methamphetamine, cocaine and other drugs, from a makeshift ministry run by a man who was dealing drugs instead of saving souls.3
The previous April, eight people were arrested in an attempt to shut down the Banks Town Mafia that was operating out of several locations in North Baton Rouge. Fentanyl, cocaine, marijuana, oxycodone, liquid cough medicine, Adderall and 16 guns were seized at the same time.4
Baton Rouge definitely has its hands full dealing with the twin problems of gangs and drugs.
What Should Families in Baton Rouge Do?
If they discover that a loved one is using drugs, they should not hesitate to start talking to the staff at drug rehabs in the area. They need to find one that offers a result that aligns with their concept of recovery from drug addiction.
Then the entire family needs to present a united front to the addicted loved one. There must be an insistence that the addicted person accept their offer of help and immediately begin a drug rehab program. They should be prepared for a refusal. Yes, some addicted people want to be helped. But the demoralizing effects of drug and alcohol addiction cause many people to reject help. They will claim that they are only hurting themselves or that they don’t desire sobriety. Or maybe they have a dozen reasons why they can’t go to rehab immediately. Some might even sound convincing.
In their hearts, every addicted person knows the truth. They know they are at risk when they use drugs. Because fentanyl is found as a contaminant in many other drugs, no matter what their drug of choice is, they are at risk of a fatal overdose. Even if they don’t overdose, they are at risk of losing everything of value as long as they are using drugs. It could happen that the truth is so deeply buried that the person rejects every offer of help.
A Professional Intervention Can Be the Answer
The answer in this situation is often a professional intervention. An interventionist that has done this job dozens or hundreds of times already knows all the excuses the person will offer. They can also prepare the family so that their united front is strong and all escape routes are closed off.
Then they can sit down with the addicted person with compassion and understanding and explain what lies ahead if that person does not get sober. The future is jail, death or sobriety. It’s their job to deliver this powerful message and cut through the addicted person’s excuses and justifications.
It is possible to save an addicted loved one if you do not delay and if you choose the best drug rehab possible.