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The opioid problem in Atlanta affects the northern suburbs most.

Opioid Crisis Triangle of Roswell, Alpharetta and Marietta

Written by Steven Brand on . Posted in Addiction Therapist Roswell, Blog, Roswell Therapist


Facts about the Opioid Problem in Atlanta

If you haven’t heard about the heroin and opioid crisis in your subdivision or neighborhood yet, then consider yourself lucky. It’s everywhere and it’s spreading.

In 2015, heroin and opioid drugs killed more people in counties inside ‘The Triangle’ than murders and car accidents combined in 2015. That is a statistic you can’t look away from. Overall in the past 7 years, heroin-related deaths have gone up almost 4000% in Fulton, Dekalb, Cobb and Gwinnett Counties. Death it seems has come to the burbs and most of these deaths occurred in Atlanta’s northern wealthy suburbs.

“Ninety percent of the people who initiate heroin use are white males between the ages of 18 and 25,” says Kevin Baldwin, an author of a new study focused on the opioid problem in Atlanta. “In more affluent areas, people are starting [even] younger.”

Sadly for many families of these new addicts, they were regular kids from average families with no obvious clues that they were at risk for addiction. Growing up they were teenagers engaged in community and sports but somehow, someway opioids were introduced and everything changed. Don’t be fooled, these drugs aren’t like the ones in the 1970s that we remember. The increased quality and strength of these latest drugs make addiction (or sadly even death) after one use easily possible. Regular kids can become addicts overnight.


Locally 11Alive and AJC have covered the problem:




How Did It Begin?


Purdue Frederick the makers of Oxycontin, an opioid prescribed drug for pain came onto the market in 1996. They did a huge campaign getting the word out at pain conferences. Their next step was a reward system that gave doctors a $3K bonus for successfully sharing their stories. And it just kept growing from there.


Doctors have always known that certain pain medications were addictive, however, there were strict limits on who was allowed to receive them, for example only terminal cancer patients were recipients at one time. But the makers of these opioids (Oxy) insisted this was different. By the year 2000, 70,000 physicians were on board prescribing it. No longer was it illegal to help people with their “pain”.


By 2011, addiction specialists were trying to fight the cresting tide. It was too late.


Within the next several years, the cost of prescription painkillers would reach $18 billion annually in the US. There would be 92,000 opioid poisoning visits to hospital emergency rooms at a national cost of about $1.4 billion, and nearly 19,000 overdose deaths.


The facts started to come in. A study in the UK showed that people were worse off after 6 months of being on Oxycontin. Similar studies in other countries showed the same. Opioids are addictive because it retrains the brain the threshold of happiness to where you only feel normal being on it. And to go off of it makes you depressed. From there the gateway to heroin is simple.


Fact: Those addicted to prescription opiates like oxycodone are 40 times more likely to develop a heroin abuse problem. Oxycodone is a pain-relieving drug that is prescribed frequently to address moderate to severe pain.


The Good News

Today every doctor in Georgia must get training on proper prescribing of opioids under a rule approved very recently by the Georgia Composite Medical Board.

I would actually say if there is any addiction in your background, to absolutely refuse going on an opioid, even under a hospital situation. Once your body is on it, it’s so hard to get off. It’s not worth it.


Another Danger

Colleges are a new breeding ground for potential addicts.

The deadly opioid epidemic sweeping the country has largely spared college campuses, but drug abuse experts warn administrators they should be paying closer attention.

“This is a time when young adults have more access to substances than ever before and have more economic leverage and legal protections,” said Dr. Joseph Lee, medical director for the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation Youth Continuum in Minnesota.


Want to learn more about the opioid problem in Atlanta? Coming up in Woodstock is an open forum on Monday October 2nd addressing the growing problem in Cherokee County.



Thanks for reading. If opioids has affected you or your families life and you are looking for counseling in Roswell, GA please contact me.






How to Succeed With Your New Year’s Resolutions

Written by Steven Brand on . Posted in Blog, Roswell Therapist

How to Succeed with your New Year’s Resolutions

New Years Resolution Therapist

We all know the statistics about New Year’s Resolutions: Most people drop off of their self-improvement goals by the end of January. So, how can you be sure to hold on to your goals this year? Here are my four tips for successful goal-making – no matter what time of year it may be:

  1. Redefine Failure. Often, when you fail to meet a goal, you are not as likely to persist. That is because small failures often entice people to believe that they are incapable of reaching their goals. Instead of letting small failures stop you, build in to your resolutions the goal to be optimistic about your abilities and persist past small missteps.
  2. Reassess Periodically. It is a good idea to revisit your goals and meter your progress occasionally. I suggest that you make a note in your calendar to take a look back at your resolutions on (at least) a quarterly basis. This will keep your goals fresh in your mind and allow you to create short-term goals, instead of shooting for a lifetime improvement.
  3. Be Willing to Modify. Sometimes we are a bit too optimistic about our ability to change. If you are consistently falling short of your goals, include modifications into your quarterly reassessments. Success is a motivator! Once you meet these modified goals, you might consider a greater challenge in the next quarter.
  4. Find a Buddy. Your best bet for a successful change is finding someone else to do it with you. Resolutions are most rewarding when you have a friend or spouse challenge and motivate you when you miss your mark and to celebrate with you when you succeed.

The New Year is an amazing season for restoration and renewal. I wish you the best in your resolution-making and I hope you have a happy and successful New Year!

Steven D Brand

Roswell Psychotherapist



Therapy vs Coaching-What’s The Difference?

Written by Steven Brand on . Posted in Blog

Therapy vs. Coaching-What’s the Difference?

When you look at my website, you will see that I work as both a psychotherapist Roswell and an executive and wilderness coach. Although both work towards the same goal of empowering you to be a better you, the approaches are different in a few ways.


Therapy is a great tool for many individuals. Unresolved issues and feelings often drive therapy and the goal is to help you work past these. This is done by working in the past to explore the root of problems and by looking at the present to reduce symptoms or destructive patterns. The goal of therapy is to achieve understanding and emotional healing. My focus is on individual, marriage and family therapy. In our therapy sessions, I work from the premise of “the truth will set you free.” I believe that discovering truths in yourself, your marriage or family, help you to overcome major hurdles and work toward healing.


Coaching is also a very helpful tool for many. Unlike therapy, coaching often begins with the present and helps you in setting very clear and specific goals to achieve in the future. Although the past might be discussed, it would only be in discovering what is keeping you from moving forward. The focus is on action, not necessarily on insight or understanding. Coaching is not as much about fixing a problem, but helping you get out of your comfort zone and learning to get more out of your life. I specialize as both an Executive Success Coach and The Wilderness Coach. Executive coaching works to empower individuals and organizations to reach their maximum potential by revitalizing a commitment to a vision for either self or the organization. Wilderness Coaching uses the amazing, rejuvenating power of nature to help individuals connect with their truest self by looking inward to connect with and actualize your dreams.

Whether through therapy or Executive or Wilderness Coaching, my ultimate goal is to help you be your best self. If you want to take steps toward personal growth, but don’t know which path would best suit your needs, call me at (770) 641-8726 and we can together decide what path you should take.

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