Substance use disorders are a significant problem in the United States, especially in light of the recent opioid epidemic that caused a spike in overdose deaths over the past few years. Addiction has a high societal cost wherever it’s a problem. In the country as a whole, it’s estimated that alcohol, tobacco, and illicit drug addiction cost a combined $740 billion annually in costs related to crime, lost work productivity, and health care. However, there’s a heavier toll. There were more than 70,200 overdose deaths in the United States in 2017. Florida is among the states with the highest increase in overdose deaths between 2016 and 2017.
Palm Beach County is a beautiful coastal county with year-round sunshine. But even in this subtropical paradise, addiction hurts individuals and their families, and their communities. In fact, the county has been hit hard by the opioid epidemic. So much so that the Palm Beach Post reported that the county was the epicenter of the opioid crisis. Learn more about addiction and drug rehab in Palm Beach County.
In 2015 and 2016, Palm Beach County saw record-high numbers of heroin overdose deaths. Medical examiners reported 205 heroin overdose deaths in West Palm Beach in 2016, which is up from just 51 in 2014. Part of the reason for this spike is an influx of fentanyl and fentanyl analogs, which are powerful synthetic opioids that are mixed into heroin without users knowing. Fentanyl was involved in 331 overdose deaths in 2016.
An estimated 89,216 people ages 12 and up had a substance use disorder in Palm Beach County between 2012 and 2014. About 20 percent reported binging alcohol, 6 percent used marijuana, and three percent used other illicit drugs.
While opioids are the top cause for concerns when it comes to illicit drug use in Palm Beach County, there are several other substances of abuse in the county. Easily attainable marijuana and alcohol are commonly abused. Stimulants like amphetamines and cocaine are common. Prescription depressants like benzodiazepines have been found in many overdose deaths, typically when mixed with alcohol or opioids.
Florida has a long history as a hub for addiction treatment. However, a group of clinics that gave out narcotic medications with little oversight lead to what would be called the Pill Mill scandal. Since then, Florida has worked to outlaw unscrupulous clinics and increase the standard of treatment in the state.
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Addiction is a chronic disease, but it’s treatable. There is no known cure for addiction, but someone with a severe substance use disorder can learn to manage cravings and triggers, avoid relapse, and live a productive life.
There is no one-size-fits-all treatment plan. Addiction is complex, and it may come with a variety of underlying issues like mental health disorders. Addiction treatment should be tailored to your individual needs.
It should also address multiple needs, including medical, psychological, and social health.
According to the National Institute on Drug Addiction, treatment needs to last long enough to effectively address your issues and prevent relapse.
Studies have found that 90 days is the ideal minimum length in treatment. Behavioral therapy options are the most commonly used approaches to addiction treatment.
They involve identifying thoughts and behaviors as you respond to high-stress situations. Options like cognitive behavioral therapy are effective elements in relapse prevention planning.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2019, June 27). Drug Overdose Deaths. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/drugoverdose/data/statedeaths.html
Gross, J. (2007, November 16). In Florida, Addicts Find an Oasis of Sobriety. Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/2007/11/16/us/16recovery.html?pagewanted=all&_r=1&
Medical Examiners Commission. (2017, November). FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF LAW ENFORCEMENT PUBLISHED JULY 2019. Retrieved from https://www.fdle.state.fl.us/MEC/Publications-and-Forms/Documents/Drugs-in-Deceased-Persons/2018-Interim-Drug-Report-FINAL.aspx
National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2020, February 6). Trends & Statistics. Retrieved from https://www.drugabuse.gov/related-topics/trends-statistics
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
Pacenti, J., & Stucka, M. (2017, November 16). Why Palm Beach County is the 'epicenter' of the deadly opioid crisis. Retrieved from https://www.palmbeachpost.com/lifestyles/health/why-palm-beach-county-the-epicenter-the-deadly-opioid-crisis/ljgIcYXGEGASNgsqH8essN/
Southeastern Florida (Miami Area) Sentinel Community Site (SCS) Drug Use Patterns and Trends, 2017. (2017, November). Southeastern Florida (Miami Area) Sentinel Community Site … Retrieved from https://ndews.umd.edu/sites/ndews.umd.edu/files/SCS-Report-2018-Southeastern-Florida-FINAL.pdf
Spencer, T. (2019, July 20). Florida 'pill mills' were 'gas on the fire' of opioid crisis. Retrieved from from https://apnews.com/0ced46b203864d8fa6b8fda6bd97b60e