Vancouver, Washington, has a plethora of rehabilitation centers to assist you during your recovery from drug or alcohol addiction. While receiving treatment, you can participate in one of the city’s numerous support meetings, including Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous. Interacting with people going through similar experiences will help you maintain a substance-free life.
The Vancouver Intergroup Alcoholics Anonymous chapter and the Southwest Washington Area Narcotics Anonymous chapter host more than 200 meetings in the Vancouver area.
The number of heroin possession cases filed in Clark County Superior Court skyrocketed from 2007 to 2011 — a 400 percent increase, according to statistics from the Clark County Prosecutor’s Office. During the same period, methamphetamine use decreased from 595 cases to 274 cases.
Law officers said that methamphetamine addicts are generally middle-aged, while an increasing number of young adults are becoming addicted to heroin. A 2012 article published in The Columbian said some teenagers in Clark County start using heroin as early as 15 years of age, and many residents develop a heroin addiction by their high school graduation.
“By the time [Drug Court] gets them at 20, they’ve been doing it for two years,” said drug court defense attorney Barry Brandenburg.
|Year||Number of Possession of Heroin Charges||Number of People Seeking State-Assisted Heroin Treatment|
Experts in law and drug treatment say the rise in heroin use is a side effect of the prescription drug epidemic. Starting in 2006, an increasing number of teenagers started poaching opioid medications such as OxyContin from their parents’ drug cabinets. After developing an opioid use disorder, they typically switch to a less costly drug — heroin.
“People are seeking out heroin because it’s a cheaper alternative,” said Sgt. Mike Cooke of the Clark County Sheriff’s Office. “Almost exclusively, that’s what we hear: They started with Oxy and moved to heroin.”
Opiate use has been on the rise in Clark County, according to a 2016 report by PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center. Opioid-related deaths saw a 58 percent increase in the county since 2002-2004, calling for measures against prescription drug and heroin abuse.
According to the 2014 Washington State Healthy Youth Survey, 10 percent of high school seniors used nonprescribed prescription drugs in the past month, and 6 percent of high school seniors used their prescribed painkillers to get high.
In response to the growing heroin and opioid problem, law enforcement and government officials in Clark County have been taking serious measures to curb the misuse of substances of abuse.
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A national park and national historic site, Fort Vancouver sits at the center of downtown Vancouver. You can visit numerous locations important in history, check out the surrounding gardens and view the Columbia River from the fort. Other nearby attractions include the Grant House, the Cedar Grist Mill in Woodland and the Pomeroy Living History Farm in Yacolt.
You can take part in numerous recreational activities in Clark County, including kayaking, canoeing or fishing along the Columbia River, Vancouver Lake or Lacamas Lake. You can also practice rock climbing at the indoor Source Climbing Center or play hockey and ice skate at the Mt. View Ice arena in Vancouver, WA.
You can get a breath of fresh air and experience the benefits of light exercise by going on a hike. Clark County, Washington is home to several hiking trails, including the Bells Mountain Trail, the Burnt Bridge Creek Trail and the Lacamas Heritage Trail. You can also stretch your legs at the Battle Ground Lake State Park or the Beacon Rock State Park.
Clark County and city governments provide programs to help individuals suffering from addiction or affected by drug abuse. The governments receive information from the county’s Substance Abuse Advisory Board and work to prevent drug abuse in the Vancouver area.
The Clark County Department of Community Services offers several substance abuse prevention services, including prevention programs, distribution of prevention information and assessments and evaluations of programs in the community. The department collaborates with community groups and other organizations to host drug prevention activities.
The Clark County Strong Teens Against Substance Hazards and Abuse program trains teens ages 12 to 19 years old to help combat addiction in the community. The teens raise awareness through outreach programs, advise community groups and support programs aimed at reducing drug abuse.
Clark County is partnered with several pharmacies to provide a drug take-back program for unwanted or expired medication. Individuals can drop off drugs at a variety of locations throughout the county. However, controlled substances are not accepted, and medication can’t be dropped off in containers that are broken or which contain patient information.
The Clark County Alcohol & Drug Program helps high-risk individuals receive treatment for drug addiction. High-risk individuals include pregnant women, intravenous drug users and parents of dependent children. Treatment services include assessments, referrals and outpatient treatment. The program also assists local youth-prevention programs.
Educational Service District 112 serves six counties, including Clark County. Prevention and intervention specialists throughout the district strive to reduce drug abuse among students in public schools. They develop student assistance, prevention and intervention programs. Specialists can also refer students to treatment and help with aftercare support.
The Battle Ground Public Schools Drug Prevention Education/Intervention Program provides counseling services for students affected by drug abuse. Two intervention specialists and one prevention-education trainer in the district oversee counseling, student support groups and high school smoking-cessation classes. Drug prevention classes are provided to elementary school students.
Smoking tobacco is banned in all indoor public places and work places in Clark County. In 2015, Clark County expanded the ordinance to include inhalant delivery systems used to smoke electronic cigarettes. The Clark County Public Health Department posts no smoking and no vaping signs in public places throughout the county.
The Clark-Vancouver Regional Drug Task Force works with community partners to decrease the number of illicit drugs on the street in Clark County. The task force investigates drug trafficking organizations and drug dealers in the area. It also serves as an educational resource for community organizations.
Clark County District Court offers three Therapeutic Specialty Court programs: Substance Abuse Court, Veterans Court and Mental Health Court. These programs provide treatment and recovery services to individuals in need of treatment for substance abuse, mental health conditions or co-occurring disorders while under supervision of the drug court. The programs focus on societal and family reintegration.
Higher education institutions in Clark County provide a variety of support services for students, faculty and staff affected by alcohol or drug abuse.
Students at Washington State University Vancouver have access to alcohol and drug counseling services, including assessments, individual counseling, support groups and consultations. The university provides online courses and self-assessment tools such as e-CHUG and e-TOKE. Employees at the university can receive mental health treatment through the Employee Assistance Program.
Students at Clark College can receive medical and counseling services at the Counseling and Health Center. Short-term counseling for issues involving stress, depression, addiction and a variety of other problems is available to students. Additionally, AA meetings are held on the main campus every Tuesday at noon. The center can refer students to community organizations or rehab facilities for long-term treatment.
Several community-based organizations provide drug abuse prevention programs and addiction outreach initiatives in Clark County.
PREVENT! is a drug abuse prevention coalition that works with other organizations in the community to raise awareness and prevent youth drug abuse in Clark County. The organization hosts prevention events such as Let’s Draw the Line, Teens Care Too and prescription drug tack-back events.
The Unite! Washougal Community Coalition comprises businesses, law enforcement, government agencies and community members in Washougal. The organizations hosts parenting classes, an anti-alcohol abuse campaign, an alcohol education program targeting youth and a medicinal drug lock box campaign.
La Center United is a community-based organization in La Center that endeavors to educate the community about mental health issues and to support a drug-free environment. The organization has hosted campaigns aimed at reducing tobacco and marijuana use and increasing the safe disposal of medications.
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You can help reduce drug abuse and underage alcohol or marijuana consumption in Clark County by volunteering your time to community-based prevention organizations.
West Van for Youth is a community coalition with a mission of decreasing underage drinking, underage marijuana use and drug abuse among minors in western Vancouver. The organization needs volunteers to help with community outreach, event planning and other prevention activities.
Formed out of a partnership between Prevent! of Clark County and the Battle Ground Prevention Alliance, Prevent Together works to reduce drug abuse among youth in Battle Ground. The organization needs volunteers to help with prevention activities, community education campaigns, social media and other efforts.
Substance abuse often costs individuals their jobs. With the help of vocational programs, people in recovery may find new jobs that fit their needs as they continue to receive treatment. Vancouver’s vocational programs aim to equip individuals with the required professional skills to progress in their careers.
Located in Vancouver, Washington, the Veterans Recovery House offers a safe and therapeutic transitional living environment to assist veterans during their recovery from substance abuse. The program operates 24/7, helping veterans with their clinical or vocational rehabilitation needs. Specialists work with the patients to help them achieve their personal and professional goals.
Washington’s Division of Vocational Rehabilitation believes that stable employment contributes to an independent lifestyle. It aims to empower people with employment barriers, such as physical or mental disabilities, to find and retain jobs. Services it provides include developing individualized employment plans, implementing a method to self-directed job search and collaborating with other employment providers to find people jobs.
Sober living homes are an important part of substance abuse recovery. Individuals recovering from drug and alcohol use disorders require a safe space without triggers and stressors that may cause a relapse. Sober living homes provide a supportive environment to people as they transition to a substance-free life.
Oxford House has more than 35 gender-specific sober living homes across Vancouver, Washington. The facilities typically house from six to 15 residents, and many houses accept men or women with children. Representatives from each Oxford House in the area meet on a monthly basis to discuss challenges encountered and find solutions to support individuals in recovery. They aim to help former substance users develop healthy habits to maintain sobriety and reduce the likelihood of relapse.
Part of Clark County’s Recovery Oriented Systems of Care, Xchange Recovery provides safe living spaces for people who need distance from toxic environments that may cause them to relapse. Through a faith-based approach, Xchange Recovery promotes healing and self-sufficiency for men and women in the Vancouver area. The housing program has structured daily schedules including educational courses, work therapy, fitness activities, counseling, GED classes and discharge planning.