Columbus continues to follow state-wide trend of increased drug use

Columbus continues to follow state-wide trend of increased drug use

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - New data by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) is detailing the drug trends across the state.

The GBI data is from roughly 4,000 drug cases in  Georgia. Local officials say it represents an even bigger story detailing what's happening in the communities.

"I look five years down the road ever since that first pill. It was kind of like chasing the high," said Shawn Wyatt, a past opioid abuser.

For Wyatt, he said his story is his testimony.  He's currently working full time at Teen Challenge, the same place who he credits for helping with his recovery.

He says it wasn't that long ago when he was battling a prescription drug addiction, spurred on by a mix of teen peer pressure and popularity.

"I didn't see any way out. I was 24 years old and was like, hey, I'm going to be a drug addict for the rest of my life. That was the only thing I knew. There was never a challenge to find the drug, and things just progressed," said Wyatt.

The GBI is recognizing the drugs of choice in the state of Georgia.

Opioids are one of the most widely abused drugs in the state, according to the GBI report.

In Columbus, officials within Adult Drug Court say the amount of cases dealing with opioid abuse has doubled from 26 to 57 percent between 2016 and 2017.

"As we see the rise in funding and fight against the opioid epidemic, what we are actually seeing is the rise and resurgence of methamphetamine epidemic. Because we are cracking down so hard on opioids, methamphetamines are coming back," said Adult Drug Court Coordinator, Dayna Solomon.

The accountability court program has graduated over 100 individuals through the program.

The program is credited for helping overcome addiction and offering a meaningful gateway, other than jail.

While the accountability court is set-up to tackle the drug problem, Wyatt says beating abuse, has to be a personal goal.

"There's always hope no matter what you feel. Even at the darkest part, you just have to make a decision to make a change," said Wyatt.

Wyatt currently heads the Ambassadors of Compassion at Teen Challenge. The program provides a leadership and development program for middle and high school students and helps encourage good decisions.

If you or someone you know is dealing with addiction, you can contact Teen Challenge hotline at 855-934-HOPE.

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