As more people than ever are battling substance abuse, the need for addiction treatment has skyrocketed in Florida. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), the opioid epidemic currently claims the lives of approximately 115 substance use disorder users per day as a result of an opioid overdose.
Substance abuse treatment and recovery in Florida has become the solution for thousands of substance users and alcoholics throughout the United States each year. Known as the recovery capital of the country, substance abuse treatment in Florida is now the model for substance abuse treatment in the rest of the country.
Seeking substance use treatment and recovery in Florida has plenty of benefits. Out-of-state treatment is an excellent option for anyone seeking recovery, and Florida is home to a robust recovery community. With thousands of treatment centers, halfway houses, and 12-step programs and their meetings in Florida, there are plenty of options for anyone on their journey in recovery.
However, there has recently been a negative connotation developing around substance use treatment and recovery in Florida. Learn more about addiction treatment and what the reality of addiction treatment in Florida is really about.
Florida has several major coastal hubs that see international shipping and imports. Drug availability is significant, especially in major cities. The recent opioid epidemic has affected the state with an increase in opioid addiction and overdose deaths. According to the NIDA, the state saw an increase in opioid overdose deaths involving powerful opioids like fentanyl. In 2017, there were as many as 4,279 opioid overdose deaths.
Florida’s Bureau of Vital Statistics reported that common drugs of abuse were found in 5,922 cases of the 107,570 that occurred in the first six months of 2018. Many of these deaths involved more than one drug, which suggests that polydrug use is common in overdose cases in Florida.
The most common drugs are smuggled into the state by sea. Drugs are transported on large coastal freighters that hide the contraband in hidden compartments. In many cases, large ships offload drugs to several smaller vessels at sea, which are less conspicuous when entering Floridian waters. The drugs are trafficked by transnational criminal organizations and distributed by street gangs. Common drugs of abuse in Florida can include:
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Florida has a long history of drug rehab and addiction treatment, and the state even set a standard of treatment that would be used all over the country called the Florida Model. In the 1970s and 1980s, there was a rise in substance abuse issues throughout the country. There was a dire need for proper substance abuse treatment, and in response to this demand, there were many recovering users and alcoholics who opened up their own treatment facilities in Florida.
Since the state of Florida is a popular destination for vacationers and people around the world, it became a desirable place to seek addiction treatment as well. The addiction treatment facility owners decided to combine the desire for the relaxation of a vacation resort and the actual crucial need for addiction treatment, resulting in the birth of the Florida Model.
Clients came to Florida and began their addiction treatment process, which started with higher levels of clinical and medical care and became less hands-on and structured as the clients traversed the program.
The Florida Model boasts a “stepped” curriculum, allowing patients access to the appropriate levels of clinical and medical intervention depending on their progress in recovery.
However, Florida addiction treatment has since received some negative attention. A phenomenon dubbed the Pill Mill scandal, led to an increase in prescription opioid abuse. The issue started in the 1990s when unscrupulous clinics opened up in the state and began selling opioid pain pills with very little oversight. By the 2010s, clinics like these were prevalent, and people came from all over the U.S. to buy pills to re-sell in their home states.
By 2017, Florida was still struggling with opioid addiction.
At this point, it was the state with the second-highest number of opioid overdose deaths after Ohio.
Legislation was passed to crack down on these clinics, and $3 million was given to law enforcement to shut down places that violated the new laws.
Addiction is a chronic disease that requires complex treatment. People come to addiction treatment with a variety of needs and co-occurring issues. Effective addiction treatment will be tailored to individual needs rather than trying to make individuals go through templated treatment programs.
Drug rehab should also address multiple needs like physical, psychological, and social issues. Addiction often comes with underlying social and psychological disorders that need to be addressed to avoid relapse.
Drug rehab should also last long enough for all of these factors to be addressed. NIDA reports that the ideal minimum length of treatment is 90 days from start to finish.
Drug Enforcement Administration. (2020, January 30). DEA releases 2019 National Drug Threat Assessment. Retrieved from https://www.dea.gov/press-releases/2020/01/30/dea-releases-2019-national-drug-threat-assessment
Florida Health. (2018). Patterns and Trends of the Opioid Epidemic in Florida 2018. Retrieved from http://www.floridahealth.gov/statistics-and-data/e-forcse/fl-seow-annual-report-2018.pdf
National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2018, January). Principles of Effective Treatment. Retrieved from https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/principles-drug-addiction-treatment-research-based-guide-third-edition/principles-effective-treatment
National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2019, May 22). Florida Opioid Summary. Retrieved from https://www.drugabuse.gov/drugs-abuse/opioids/opioid-summaries-by-state/florida-opioid-summary
National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2020, February 20). Opioid Overdose Crisis. Retrieved from https://www.drugabuse.gov/drugs-abuse/opioids/opioid-overdose-crisis