Akron is a large city of just under 200,000 people in northeastern Ohio, although the Greater Akron area is home to just over 700,000 people. It is also the county seat of Summit County and is just a few dozen miles south of Cleveland. Similar to nearby Cleveland and the rest of Ohio, Akron is in the midst of a drug epidemic. Drug use rates have been increasing over the last decade as evidenced by a large number of drug overdoses, arrests, and deaths in and around Akron in recent years. According to Summit County Public Health reports, while drug overdoses and deaths are trending down as of 2020, they are still higher than at any point up until 2015. If someone is trying to stop using drugs or alcohol, entering an Akron alcohol and drug rehab center is often the best and most effective option for beginning life in recovery.
Substance Abuse In Akron
According to the Ohio Substance Abuse Monitoring Network, as of 2020, some of the most commonly abused substances in Akron include alcohol, crystal meth, prescription opioids, marijuana, and heroin. While the availability of these drugs listed above, along with cocaine and crack, had decreased during 2019, the availability rating of all of these drugs is still rated a 10 out of 10. Concerningly, crystal meth and marijuana have actually seen increased availability throughout 2019 and are widely available all throughout Akron and the surrounding areas.
A troubling trend that has been seen across Ohio, but is particularly pronounced in Akron, is the trend to use new and potentially dangerous cutting agents in drugs to increase a dealer’s profitability as well as the drug’s addictive potential. The most common of these dangerous cutting agents is fentanyl, being found in everything from heroin, crystal meth, cocaine, crack, and counterfeit pills such as prescription opioids and benzodiazepines. Another cutting agent that is commonly used to cut opioids, a banned drug known as phenacetin, has recently been found in cocaine in the Akron area. This is an old painkiller that is no longer available in the United States as of the 1970s due to its known carcinogenic effects. The fact that it is now being used as a cutting agent is concerning, as it is known to cause cancer and is toxic to the kidneys.
Another factor that impacts the availability of drugs in Akron is the high number of interstates that pass through or near the city. There are 4 major interstates near Akron that are known drug trafficking routes. These include I-71, I-77, I-77, and I-80 along with the intra-state highways I271 and I-480 which begin and end within a hundred miles of Akron. Because of this hub of transportation routes, it is not uncommon for drug traffickers to pass through Akron en route to Canada, Mexico, and the east or west coast of the US. For example, in February of 2021, law enforcement raided 2 homes in Akron, and between the 2 homes seized over 20 grams of crystal meth, an ounce of fentanyl, a pound of cocaine, a significant amount of cash, and multiple weapons.
Akron’s Response To Substance Abuse
The drug problem in Akron is significant, to be sure, and the community of Akron and surrounding communities have been trying to mount a response. Many of these programs and organizations are overdose prevention initiatives aimed at reducing the damage done by opioid overdose deaths. There are charity groups, community organizations, and government programs that have sprung up around the city to improve awareness, educate on prevention measures, and help people in need find effective treatment options for drug or alcohol addiction. A very proactive and unique step taken by the Akron community is making naloxone available in schools. According to CNN, in 2017 the Akron Public School Board voted to keep naloxone on-site at middle and high schools in the area to help prevent overdose deaths among teenagers. While more work is certainly needed to address the problem as a whole, the communities around Akron have made a solid start.
Just a few of these preventative and treatment-oriented organizations include:
- Project DAWN Akron: An acronym for Deaths Avoided With Naloxone, this project has 4 locations around Akron that provide access to naloxone and resources for naloxone use training.
- County of Summit Alcohol, Drug Addiction, and Mental Health Services Board: This community service board provides information, resources, and connection to crisis services for people of all ages.
- Summit County Addiction Recovery Services Guide: A document compiled by the Summit Count ADM Board and the Summit County Opiate + Addiction Task Force, this document contains dozens of resources for finding help for drug addiction treatment.
- Summit County Opiate + Addiction Task Force: This government organization provides opiate overdose information and resources as well as addiction recovery resources all across Summit County.
Drug and Alcohol Detox & Rehab In Akron
While drug addiction is certainly dangerous, it can sometimes be dangerous to suddenly quit using drugs without professional help. While drugs such as stimulants or hallucinogens rarely produce dangerous physical withdrawal symptoms, certain depressant drugs can cause dangerous or even fatal complications if someone stops using them without medical supervision. In particular, if someone becomes addicted to alcohol or benzodiazepines and stops using them, they may experience heart attacks, seizures, brain damage, or death if they do not have professional medical assistance. There are even documented cases of people dying from opioid withdrawal, although this is extremely rare. If someone hopes to have the best possible chance of successfully completing withdrawal and detox with the least risk, then entering an Akron drug and alcohol detox center is their best option. The Ohio Addiction Recovery Center drug and alcohol detox near Akron can help someone make it through the detox process in the most comfortable way possible, and continue care once the withdrawal process has safely ceased.
Addiction Recovery In Akron
During a client’s time in our Akron drug and alcohol rehab program, we strongly encourage our clients to make new friendships and connections with the wider recovery community. We go to great lengths to provide the highest level of care possible to our clients, but someone has their entire life to live once our program is complete, and if they hope to continue to live a sober life, getting close with others who are living the same way can make a massive difference.
It can be helpful to find a recovery fellowship where someone can easily relate to others; whether that be the drug of choice or the recovery method. While some of the oldest recovery communities are based on the 12-Step model of recovery, there are also religious programs as well as secular recovery programs available. No matter what someone’s opinions or views may be about recovery, there is most likely a fellowship that is of a similar view.
Some of the 12-Step recovery fellowships that can be found around Akron include:
- Alcoholics Anonymous: The Akron Area Intergroup of Alcoholics Anonymous lists over 20 meetings each week in and around Akron.
- Narcotics Anonymous: The Narcotics Anonymous World Services site provides a meeting directory of over 30 NA meetings near Akron each week.
- Heroin Anonymous: The Heroin Anonymous World Services website provides a directory that currently lists 4 HA meetings around Akron each week.
- Cocaine Anonymous: The Ohio Area of Cocaine Anonymous website lists 9 meetings each week near Akron.
- Crystal Meth Anonymous: The Crystal Meth Anonymous World Services website currently lists 2 CMA meetings each week near Akron, 1 in Kent and another in Salem.
- Marijuana Anonymous: The official Marijuana Anonymous website currently lists 1 meeting per week in Akron.
Aside from 12-Step programs, there are also religiously oriented recovery groups and completely secular groups. These include Christian-focused programs, Buddhist-inspired groups, and group accountability and training programs. A few of these groups that can be found around Akron include:
- Celebrate Recovery: A Christian-inspired recovery program, there are currently 20 groups meeting each week within 25 miles of Akron.
- Recovery Dharma: A Buddhist-oriented recovery fellowship, they currently hold 3 meetings each week near Akron, although there are many online meetings each day as well.
- SMART Recovery: An acronym for Self Management And Recovery Training, this recovery group currently holds 8 meetings per week within Akron with over a dozen more in surrounding areas.
There are also support groups for the friends and families of people who have struggled with drug or alcohol addiction. Watching a loved one battle addiction can be a very troubling and sometimes traumatic experience. Finding support and help from other people who have been through similar experiences can be a healing experience, and there are several such groups near Akron. A few of these family and friend support groups include:
- Al-Anon: This group is for the friends or family of someone who has struggled with alcoholism and currently holds dozens of meetings all across Akron.