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During Mardi Gras, New Orleans gets a lot of national attention. On any given night, you can see video clips on TV or the Internet of people walking down Bourbon Street, shoulder to shoulder, holding plastic drink cups in their hands. The majority of those contain an alcoholic beverage.

On the hotel and restaurant balconies, celebrants are leaning over while holding beer bottles and other beverage containers while they try to catch beads being thrown from the parade floats as well as from ordinary passersby. It is not uncommon, although it is illegal, to see a woman hand off her beverage container long enough to "do what needs to be done" in order to have beads tossed her way.

At other times of the year, Bourbon Street still sees quite a bit of action, and alcohol is easily attainable by those who are of drinking age or who can pass for being of drinking age or who can show "ID" stating they "are" of drinking age. This is because alcoholic beverages are sold directly to customers walking by the street from small door front openings.

Yes, New Orleans is a tourist town and it is also a college town. Both these atmospheres lend themselves to drug and alcohol abuse.

However, it may be surprising to learn that drinking and drug abuse is not limited to or mainly done by tourists,or mainly occurs in New Orleans. A recent survey of 18,732 residents of the entire State of Louisiana revealed that 2,932 of them admitted to alcohol abuse or addiction, while 4,099 admitted to using both alcohol and other drugs. Further, there was only slight disparities between the two main ethnic groups-white and black.

The survey also counted those residents who had been admitted to one or more of Louisiana's 122 drug abuse treatment centers for substance abuse treatment that included treatment for alcohol (both alone and in conjunction with other drug), cocaine (smoked and taken in by another method of administration), marijuana, heroin, and methamphetamine. The categories in this section were broken down by age groups. Are you ready for a shock? Under the column for marijuana, of the 3,776 residents who admitted to its use, a few of those (at least 0.1%) who sought treatment for marijuana use were ages 0-11.

Yes, you read that right. At one time, somewhere in one of Louisiana's 122 drug abuse treatment centers, there was a child being treated for marijuana abuse. Not a teenager, not a young adult, a child. Louisiana residents can be thankful that at least there were drug abuse treatment centers available that would accept children that young. It may have even been that the treatment facility or facilities that accepted these young ones were both age-specific (accepting only adolescents, as some of them are) but also gender-specific, meaning that their children talked with other children of the same sex who were probably older, but who were still not considered adults.

All them, however, shared one thing in common-they were being treated for substance abuse. It could have been for marijuana, or for another substance. And, although this category was not included in this survey, the possibility exists that someone could have been receiving treatment for prescription drug abuse.

While it is disturbing, or it should be, to think of children this young already being admitted to drug abuse treatment centers, it should be comforting to some degree to know that at least they are available to everyone, children and adults who need them. It should also be comforting to know that one of the 122 centers will suit a person's needs.

Besides some of them being age- and gender-specific as was mentioned earlier, there are also some that can accept those who are hearing-impaired or communicate in another language. Others can accept those patients who have been diagnosed as being HIV-positive or having AIDS.

Louisiana drug abuse treatment centers also accept a unique form of payment-an Access to Recovery voucher. This type of payment provision allows those who need rehabilitation services in Louisiana to choose the facility they wish. The center can be faith-based, or have programs presented in another way, or be community-based or supported. The point is that a person has a choice; they are not "bound" to attend a specific facility. As long as the one they choose meets their specific need, they can utilize its services.

http://www.dhh.louisiana.gov/offices/?ID=154
http://www.dhh.louisiana.gov/

Louisiana Drug Rebab Centers and Louisiana Addiction Treatment Programs