The Unspoken Aftermath of Disasters

Aftermath of disasters

Being born and raised in New Orleans, I have seen my fair share of natural disasters. Of course, Katrina was the most devastating and the first one to have an impact on my life. At that point, I had not developed a bad drug habit. But the next time I had to evacuate for another hurricane, which was just a few years later, I was pretty heavy into prescription painkillers.

With the recent flooding in Denham Springs, where I now live, I cannot help but remember and to some degree re-live Hurricane Katrina. I was just a teenager at the time it wreaked havoc on my beloved birth city, and the stress was overwhelming. I can remember my mom taking me to the psychiatrist. I would run into friends and their parents were also lost on how to help them overcome everything. Now that I am an adult, I can finally see what kind of stress my parents went through.

One of the things a lot of people don’t think about during these times is what happens to the drug addicts. Drugs are a solution to a problem, so when disasters hit, that’s how drug addicts cope. Most are left without resources and nowhere to turn. In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, there were 150,000 people displaced that ended up in Houston. Heroin use skyrocketed and there were reports of people trading their $300 FEMA vouchers for 2 bags of heroin worth $20. Some people who have beat their addictions prior to a natural disaster may relapse due to the stress and chaos going on around them.

Through all of this, I see hope. Narconon Louisiana—New Life Retreat center was built shortly after Hurricane Katrina. The founders of the Narconon Louisiana facility did a lot of volunteer work in New Orleans. One of the things they found extremely heart breaking were the addicts who were sick and suffering with nowhere to go. After that, they began research on where and how to open a treatment center, finally settling on the 15 acre plot of land in Denham Springs. Determined to provide something different than the traditional 12-step program, they decided to join the worldwide network of Narconon centers and have succeeded in creating one of the most successful drug and alcohol treatment centers in Louisiana, opening in 2006.

This serves as my inspiration to work as hard as I can—for our past graduates and the future graduates of Narconon Louisiana. The rest of the staff feel the same way as I do. We are here for this community so they do have a place to turn in this time of desperate need. Please call us today for help finding treatment.


Dianna Re, CAS

A native New Orleanian, Dianna is the Graduate Officer and as such, maintains contact with graduates and their families to ease the transition from rehabilitation, back into society. Keep up with her on Facebook, or connect with her through LinkedIn.