Painkiller abuse on the rise in the Chattahoochee Valley

Rise in painkiller abuse in the Chattahoochee Valley
Painkiller abuse is on the rise in the Chattahoochee Valley
Painkiller abuse is on the rise in the Chattahoochee Valley

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - Painkiller abuse represents three-fourth of all prescription drug abuse, according to It also states that hydrocodone and roxycodone are the most commonly abused drugs in the United States.

This is a major problem in Georgia as well as Columbus.

Due to the rise in prescription drug abuse in the Chattahoochee Valley, a new outpatient treatment program opened last week to treat individuals battling prescription pain pill addiction as well as opiate addiction.

Jonathan Connell is the administrator of Private Clinic located on Princeton Ave. in Columbus.

Connell started Private Clinic in Albany, Ga. and decided to open another clinic in Columbus because many people from Columbus asked him to move into town.

"Many of my patients were from Columbus," Connell said. "They asked me to open another clinic here, because they believed my treatments were effective."

Connell said people between the ages of 18-27 and the baby boomers abuse painkillers the most.

"It's a huge problem in Georgia and Columbus is no exception," Connell said. "It's easy to get prescription pain pills, and that can be a problem for drug abusers. I think about 60 percent of the people we treat had some type of a medical problem. Then they took painkillers and fell in love with how the medicine makes them feel."

Connell said 9 out of 10 people will often sleep after taking the painkillers. However, one out of 10 people will feel rush of energy, and many can become addicted.

"We are not talking about street addicts," Connell said. "Majority of the people we treat here can be anybody. Soccer moms, teachers, nurses, doctors and construction workers…anybody."

Connell said about 80 percent of his patients snort the painkillers, while 40 percent of the abusers use needles.

"Both ways are dangerous. People can get HIV and other diseases from snorting or using needles," Connell said. "Sometimes our nose vessels might be cut open, and if massive number of people snort by using the same straw, then diseases will be transferred."

Connell said the clinic will work with individuals until they have overcome their addiction.

"I don't believe there is a cure, but there is treatment for addiction," Connell said. "People can be triggered to do the same thing again. So we sit down, and help people find ways to avoid or overcome these triggers, so they do not have to go back down those roads anymore."

Residents in the Chattahoochee Valley who need help with painkiller addiction can reach Private Clinic to schedule appointments by calling the number: 706-257-7722.

Also, visit their website at

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