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Women living in rural north Georgia who treat substance abuse problems using online rehabilitation services

Women living in rural north Georgia who treat substance abuse problems using online rehabilitation services

Drug Abuse and Addiction

            Drug or substance abuse is the use of a drug in amounts that are harmful to individuals’ health or others. There are many reasons why people engage in the use of drugs irrespective of their background or age. According to Robinson (2019), people do experiment with recreational drugs out of curiosity to have some enjoyable time or because some other people like friends are doing it, reducing stress or other problems, or maybe as a result of depression.

Substance abuse and addiction do not only result from the use of illegal drugs like cocaine or heroin but also can arise from prescribed medications, which include painkillers or sleeping pills. In the U.S, most people are mostly addicted to prescribed drugs inform of painkillers, with most of them dying from an overdose of powerful each day (Jeanne Segal, 2019). In most parts of the United States, Opioid painkillers abuse has become so powerful and has paved the way for the use of more dangerous drugs such as heroin.

Anyone can develop the problems of drug use, but vulnerability differs from one person to another. Some of the things that play a role in this include the individual’s family, mental health, and the environment he/ she socialize from. Other factors include the history of addiction within the family, Abuse, traumatic experiences, depression and anxiety, and the method of administering the drug, which includes injection or smoking.

Development of Drug Addiction

According to Melinda Smith, 2019, drug use can easily lead to addiction because of various factors. Some of these factors include;

If the drug fulfills a valuable need. Most people use drugs and find themselves continuously relying on them if they serve a purpose like building more confidence or reducing stress and anxiety. Prescription drugs can also be used to relieve pain such as chronic pain like the case of Opioid use, or even to cope with Panic attacks. These factors are the one that results in the transformation from casual use of a drug to addiction.

Drug use can result from a way of socially connecting with others. This mostly happens when meeting friends or other social acquaintances. Due to the strong desire to fit in the group, this results in the use of drugs.

Drug use can result from social and economic problems. For example, poverty and unemployment can drive someone to use drugs to try and get comfort by evading reality. In this way, continuous use leads to addiction, which finally compels individuals to continue using the medicine not because of the benefit, but because of severe consequences that may arise if they stop.

There are usually two contrasting ideas about the use and addiction to drugs (Salas-Wright, Vaughn, & González, 2016). One of the concepts is the moral model of addiction which implies that drug use is a matter of choice and it’s the individual who decides to use or not. This conceptualizes the addiction as a matter of lack of character for the individual. In other words, an individual suffers from drug addiction due to irresponsibility and careless behavior (Heather, 2017). The other idea focuses on the neuroscientific foundations of addiction. This sees drug abuse and addiction like any other chronic medical condition and not as a moral failing.

Another perspective that can be used to understand this is the self-regulatory theory (Black, Mullan, & Sharpe, 2017). This theory is a system of personal management consciously and it involves the processes of how an individual guides his/ her thoughts, his conduct, behaviors and feelings to achieve his or her goals. According to Roy Baumeister, self-regulation has four parts; standards of desirable behavior, the desire to meet certain levels, situations monitoring, and thoughts that come before breaking of the said standards and lastly, the willpower. In the management of short term desires, that is where an individual finds himself using a drug or engaging in violent activity that adds more troubles to them. Lack of self-regulation is one factor that leads to drug use because that urge may come for a short period and then disappear (Vohs & Baumeister, 2016).

Drug Use and Addiction in Georgia

Alcohol use

            In Georgia, drug and substance abuse is one of the most felt health crisis, and this is a severe challenge that the population faces and which take distinct forms. According to Lakeview Health publication in 2019, Alcohol is probably the most abused drug in Georgia. Although it is widely accepted as a regular social activity, many people have become addicts in a way that is affecting them negatively.

The rate of use of this substance varies with the geographic location of the residents, primarily rural and urban areas. There has been a lot of concern about Alcohol Use Disorder among these populations and there is a need for humanitarian help in addressing this problem. (WHO GHO, 2016). Alcohol use disorder is mainly a big concern among conflict-affected civilians. This is because they are often exposed to traumatic and occurrences that bring about complications such as depression and anxiety.

This exposure to traumatic events and violence result in alcohol use as a form of self-medication. Armed conflicts and related displacements of people arise to poor living conditions and poverty, and loss of properties. This makes alcohol a solution strategy to these stressors. Alcohol use and addiction is the leading cause of non-communicable diseases such as cirrhosis, heart conditions and diabetes to these populations (Almli & Lori, 2018). It also results in behavioral and other social impacts such as violence which is based on gender. This is a big problem in many areas affected by conflicts.

Georgia has been marked by conflicts that involved secessionist movements in the 1990s and in 2008 which led to displacements and setting up internally displaced people’s camps. These displaced communities are faced with poverty, unemployment, poor living conditions, and limited access to other local communities. This is one of the reasons why they use alcohol in a big way. Limited access to good healthcare and health facilities results in continuous addictions. Alcohol use is more on the rural parts of the country as compared to the urban area as a result of the above-highlighted factors. Although women in rural regions who engage in alcohol are less than men, about 16% of them engage in drinking (WHO, 2016).

Opioid Use

            These are mostly used as medicines, and mainly they are prescribed as painkillers for chronic pain. With their prolonged use, their ability to relieve pain can reduce, and the pain increase and this can make the body develop dependence. Their continued use develops withdrawal symptoms, and this makes it difficult to stop using them. According to the Georgia Department of Public Health (2020), the deaths caused by Opioid overdose have been on the rise in Georgia since 2010. This has been attributed to the increased use and misuse of prescription opioids, such as oxycodone and hydrocodone. From 2013, illicit opioids such as heroin and fentanyl led to a sharp increase in the deaths associated with opioid overdose (Abraham, Adams, Bradford, & Bradford, 2019).

According to the National Institute of drug abuse in March 2019, there were 1014 deaths associated with opioid use. More cases involved synthetic opioids (mainly fentanyl). There was a massive increase in the number of related deaths by 358 between 2012 and 2017. There was also a significant rise in the number of women who use opioid especially in the rural parts of the country, and this is attributed to the pain-relieving prescriptions.

Adverse effects of drugs on women in North Georgia

Addiction in Women

According to some statistics, there was an increase in the number of deaths for women, which resulted from addictions and overdoses as compared to men. The use of alcohol is on the rise, as well as other drugs such as opioids. The fact that opioid is given as a prescription drug, even increases more chances of women involvement, as they frequently feel chronic pain. Continued use is the one that brings about the addiction to a point where they cannot survive without using the substance (Hardy, Fani, Jovanovic & Michopoulos, 2018). This becomes serious because unlike men, women can transfer the effects to children in case they use them when pregnant or develop more severe problems in their health. This review focus on women’s drug use in rural north Georgia and telerehabilitation. It’s better to understand that there are many negative impacts that women experience after opioid use and addiction (Salas-Wright, Vaughn, & González, 2016). One of them is Neo-natal Abstinence Syndrome. This occurs when a woman uses drugs such as opioids when she is pregnant. This may result in babies being born with such symptoms of drug effects. There is also a prevalence of cases such as HIV which has been attributed to Injection Drug Use (IDU) (Darlington & Hutson, 2017).

Although most of the affected are male, about 2.3% of women cases were attributed to IDU. Other infections that arise include Hepatitis C (HCV) prevalence, which was attributed to injections (Mazure & Fiellin, 2018). According to Zibbell, Asher, Patel, Kupronis, Iqbal, Ward, and Holtzman (2018), the annual acute HCV infection incidence increased by more than two times from 0.3 to 0.7 cases per 100,000 from 2004 to 2014. This varied among different selected groups with the main cause being the injection of a drug such as heroin.

Recovery and treatment Process for the Women

Methods of treatment

            The process of recovery may be online from one’s convenience or may involve people visiting rehabilitation facilities for treatment. Some several ways and methods are applied for the treatment of women who have been addicted to substance use. There are treatment approaches and individual programs which continue to evolve and diversify every day. According to the (Principles of Drug Addiction Treatment, by the National Institute on Drug abuse, 3rd edition of 2018), the initial stage of treatment is detoxification and withdrawal which is medically managed. Detoxification is meant to control the acute and potentially harmful psychological effects of drug use stoppage. Other methods include Long-term Residential Treatment which is done in residential places and non-hospital settings. They focus more on the re-socialization of the individual in the entire community.

The increase in the number of women affected by opioid use disorder especially those who are pregnant and postpartum women, has resulted in a need for more availability of programs specialized in offering evidence-based substance disorder treatment services designed for this population (Meinhofer, Hinde, & Ali, 2020). According to Meinhofer, Hinde and Ali (2020), Postpartum Women (PPW) programs in rural settings had more possibility of offering essential ancillary services but less likely to provide methadone or accept Medicaid. The state-level prenatal substance use policies focus mainly on the criminal justice area. They are negatively associated with the section of women in the reproductive age who were pregnant when they admitted treatment. This is across all groups for both non-Hispanic white women and other women of other races and ethnic groups (Kozhimannil, Dowd, Ali, Novak & Chen, 2019).

As one method of countering the increased opioid use and minimize the crisis, every state in the U.S including Georgia, has increased access to naloxone through various expanded prescription methods which include standing orders or protocols. In Georgia, the standing orders require that any individual acquire naloxone from the pharmacies that are licensed without the requirement of any prescription (Nguye & Gilbert, 2020). Although the legislative barriers have been addressed for getting the naloxone, its availability and accessibility are still limited.

Rural communities face more barriers that relate to misinformation, lack of knowledge and information about them as well as varying costs. However, despite the obstacles, the patients can be provided with high-quality care by the pharmacists even if they fail to provide naloxone directly. Other options can be applied (Meyerson, Agley, Davis, 2016). As a result of the challenges experienced in rural areas, a more efficient method of treatment is necessary which will be more convenient and cheap. The challenges comprise of misinformation and inadequate information, lack of adequate funds for hospitals and rehabilitation centers, lack of accessible rehabilitation centers and health facilities, geographical location among many others, This is the online treatment and rehabilitation.

Online Rehabilitation for the women

            This is also known as telerehabilitation and involves the delivery of treatment and rehabilitation services without having to visit the facility, but from the individual’s convenience even from home. This is done online with the use of telecommunication networks and the internet. The services can be obtained through mobile phones or even computers, where there is a particular platform created for the engagement between the patient and the physician. This method of rehabilitation has many advantages. The treatment does not need a personal visit to a specialist or a facility, thus saving time and resources. It is also very convenient as no much sacrifice is required (Dadarkhah, 2018).

Georgia’s statewide telemedicine network and Georgia Partnership for Telehealth usually apply the use of information technology to bring about healthcare which is efficient and of good quality. This brings about good health outcomes for the underserved population in Georgia, mostly in the rural set-ups (Caminero, Méndez-Herrero, Díaz-Pernas, Calabia Del Campo, Rodríguez and Martinez-Zarzuela, 2017). Georgia, as a state, has rural communities spread across major geographical regions, including the Cumberland Plateau in the northwest. It is Georgia that has more counties that experience more poverty than the rest of the states.

Telemedicine uses high-speed telecommunication systems and computerized technology together with cameras to do an examination, diagnosis, treatment as well as offering education to the women from afar. Through a live encounter, a patient right from the rural parts of Georgia seeks treatment and a chance for a second opinion from Georgia’s big hospitals without spending her time and money to visit the facility for a personal appointment. The rural care provider and specialist work in conjunction with the development of an appropriate plan for patient treatment. Ancillary services can be carried out by the village health facility and the results sent to the specialist. The specialist then conducts the diagnosis, and a treatment plan is recommended to the local physician with a follow-up being done efficiently and conveniently through the Telehealth (Miller & Prince, 2018).

According to Cramer, Dodakian, See, Augsburger, McKenzie, and Scacchi (2019), most patients receive suboptimal rehabilitation therapies after substance abuse addiction due to the limited access to therapists, difficulty in transportation. They also say that little knowledge about any disorder also affects them in knowing how they can get treatment. Therefore, Telehealth becomes the most effective way of providing rehabilitation therapy and improve the patient’s outcome after suffering from any disorder especially those that result from substance use. According to them, telerehabilitation has the potential to substantially lead to an increase in access to rehabilitation therapy to many affected women. One benefit of this is that it also offers adequate information to the women even regarding the various infections such as HIV and HCV, and even in the process of rehabilitation, more guidance is provided on how to manage the conditions that might have resulted from drugs use (Bishop & Frain, 2017).

According to Raja (2020), research was conducted in 2018 to identify community health centers and other more significant health centers that had Telehealth capabilities. It was found that all the health facilities that participated in the study use telepsychiatry for diagnoses and medication prescribing and about ten of them offered therapy through Telehealth. Some of these centers used their staff to provide Telehealth mental services, while others contracted with other external professionals. In most of the centers, telemental health was used as an adjunct to in-person care. Between choosing between the two types of services, the facilities considered more on what the patient preferred and other things like the insurance status of the patient.

Almost all the health facilities found it useful to continue offering Telehealth services. However, the patients who participated were concerned about shortcomings such as less patient engagement, challenges of confidentiality as well as inefficiency. Therefore, because it was established that telehealth is used as a complementary to the in-person care, this could inform the policymakers and the clinicians regarding the different models of delivery that included the telemental health provision (Busch & Mehrotra, 2020).

Educational and physical therapy improves the results after suffering from drug addiction. The more they are conducted, the more they give better results (Steven, 2020). Telehealth or telerehabilitation is used to address the unmet needs that are not able to reach the patients may be due to the distance or lack of required information. According to Bini & Mahajan (2017), in rural Georgia, telerehabilitation involves rehabilitation and treatment sessions through either a home computer that is connected to the internet through a mobile device such as a phone. Then there is the use of games used to promote therapeutically relevant movements. A tele-rehabilitation system guides the whole process. Therapists may initiate a videoconference with the individual’s telerehabilitation system where they can discuss progress, consult, engage, and even revise the treatment plans where needed. (Azma, RezaSoltani, 2018). Most women prefer this form of therapy because of confidentiality in that the information they discuss or share about their health remains confidential, and no one else knows. There is also the advantage of convenience because, in cases where they have to visit the facility or the physician in person, they must book an appointment which might take some time.





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Women living in rural north Georgia who treat substance abuse problems using online rehabilitation services

The post Women living in rural north Georgia who treat substance abuse problems using online rehabilitation services appeared first on Destiny Papers.

Women living in rural north Georgia who treat substance abuse problems using online rehabilitation services
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