While substance use is on the rise nationwide, the beautiful state of Florida has witnessed what drug addiction has done to its residents. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health (SAMH) program in conjunction with the Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF) are working together to create long-lasting solutions to these serious, and potentially life-threatening issues that are plaguing Florida.
According to the Florida Alcohol and Drug Abuse Association (FADAA), Florida has witnessed historic declines in alcohol use, binge drinking, and cigarette smoking among Florida middle-school and high-school students.
Conversely, the opioid epidemic continued to worsen dramatically as a whole in the state. The most dangerous angle to this problem, however, has been the rise of non-pharmaceutical opioids from foreign labs like fentanyl. Fentanyl is an incredibly potent synthetic opioid that has been turning up in street drugs and killing those not used to its strength.
Fentanyl is used in extreme cases of pain typically in the form of patches, but in the past few years, it has become more prominent in street drugs because of its low cost to produce. It is being made in labs throughout Mexico who purchase the precursor from China and then push it through the border. Due to its lower cost, it has been cut with heroin to boost profits for drug dealers, and in turn, created an even worse problem to what is considered an epidemic level situation.
Fentanyl is so strong that just touching the substance can cause an overdose. It has changed how law enforcement investigates crime scenes due to officers being killed in the line of duty. This story illustrates the strength of fentanyl, and how mere contact with the substance can cause an overdose. This is like nothing we have ever seen.
As of 2018, Florida’s recognized population of 18.8 million, and in a 2014 study an estimated 410,000 Florida residents were addicted to drugs or alcohol. Another study in 2016 reported 5,000 drug overdoses in the sunshine state. Florida Gov. Rick Scott addressed these growing numbers and declared a state of emergency as of 2017, proposing $54 million in education programs, grants, and prevention services to aid and guide his residents on a path to sobriety.
This allowed Florida to “tap into” federal funds and contribute to saving lives. With such a significant number of residents fighting with this public health emergency, making the decision to move forward was the right answer. The governor was criticized before his declaration based on his lack of response to the matter, but he ultimately made the right decision to help Floridians in their quest.
While opioids remain the most abused drug in Florida, there have been concerns expressed about a rise in a second epidemic—a recently released DEA briefing showed that Colombian coca cultivation in 2016 reached the highest levels ever observed. These are startling findings based on the proximity of Latin America to Florida. It was stated that this trend was likely to increase throughout 2018.
With easy accessibility to drugs and a constant influx of users throughout the state, the health care professionals at The Palm Beach Institute are hard at work to formulate solutions to these complex matters. They remain on the cutting edge of addiction research and substance abuse treatment.
In March 2018, Florida’s House of Representatives approved a bill that limits opioid prescriptions to a three-day supply. The members acknowledged that this wouldn’t, in fact, solve the state’s substance abuse problem. However, it is forward-thinking and a way to fight back. A majority of the state’s citizens who do rely on these medications for pain have become very upset over the new measures being put into place, but these are necessary measures to fight Florida’s drug problem.
While statistics typically paint a dark picture, there are groups that have formed to help bring the Sunshine State out from behind the clouds. A group called the NOPE Task Force (Narcotics Overdose Prevention and Education) was established as a means of diminishing the frequency and effects of overdoses. Their vision is a world free of overdoses, and they work by bringing awareness to the substance abuse problem. They offer university presentations, parent and community forums, and support groups to help bring awareness to this topic.
The thought process of introducing new bills, recognition, and fighting the drug problem is that this has become a full-blown epidemic, and without awareness, this fire will continue to grow. Time will be our only indicator to show how effective these initiatives will be, but all of the information out there can help save a life.
Substance abuse treatment is an effective approach that addresses and treats substance use disorders and addiction. The main components here are the psychological and physical aspects of substance abuse by identifying the root of the problem.
The first step in substance use treatment is medical detoxification, which is often referred to as the toughest step. Those who undergo this process are under strict medical supervision as the drugs are being removed from their system. For someone to go through this process on their own would be extremely uncomfortable, let alone dangerous, so it is recommended that they receive addiction recovery care under the guidance of experienced and qualified health care professionals. This should be done at a licensed facility allowed to dispense medicine to help negate the side effects associated.
Depending on the severity of the addiction, this could be done on an inpatient or outpatient basis. This will all be determined by a team of medical professionals who are dedicated to establishing the best possible medical plan. While no two people are alike, the trained staff are keen on discovering the best methods for the patient.
There are different levels of treatment that range from intense levels of care to lower levels of treatment modalities. Here is how it breaks down:
With different types of care comes a wide range of addiction therapies with the sole purpose of treating ailments. This allows those with different types of disorders the chance to understand and manage their addictions. These also will give the client an opportunity to understand how underlying issues such as mental health disorders could be driving their addiction. Some of these therapies include:
Searching for the right program can be overwhelming, but one must be able to identify the factors that make a facility the most effective for you or a loved one. There are certain guidelines that help prospective clients achieve the most beneficial outcomes possible. There are facilities that don’t put your unique needs first, but not to worry. We offer a guide to help you choose a facility that can help you succeed and reach your sobriety goals.
While it has been mentioned that recovery is not a definitive single solution working for everyone, expectations should be adjusted, and realize that the right center must be chosen for in order to receive the best results.
During consideration of a substance abuse treatment center in Florida, a reliable tool to evaluate a facility is treatment center criteria set by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration (SAMHSA). These go as follows:
Ensure that a facility is reputable and has the proper credentials to operate legally. To obtain accreditation, a facility must obtain several specific certifications and adhere to strict guidelines set in place.
It is necessary to seek out a facility that employs evidence-based treatment. On top of this, make sure to look for a proven track record implementing these policies. These must be backed by the addiction research and science community.
Addiction doesn’t only affect the person using drugs or alcohol, but it also affects the person’s family as a whole. Look for a facility that offers family therapy programs into its facilities as this is an important part of sobriety and healing for all parties involved.
To manage an addiction effectively, medication management is the best way to ease into sobriety. Detox can be a painful process, and facilities not offering medication management for withdrawal symptoms are more likely to see their patients fall into relapse. Look for treatment centers that offer this as a means of assistance.
Facilities shouldn’t stop their care when rehab is finished. Addiction is a lifelong disease, so it requires lifelong management. Seek out a facility that will not close the doors on your needs when you complete your treatment. Post-treatment services help with finding sober housing, employment, programs that teach life skills and financial planning, and more.
If you or someone you care about is struggling with substance abuse and is ready to take first steps toward recovery and a better, sober tomorrow, The Palm Beach Institute can help. We offer medical detox treatment with a seamless transition into ongoing care through to our post-treatment alumni program.
Toronto drug squad officer dies of fentanyl overdose: Police. (2017, November 16). Retrieved from https://www.ctvnews.ca/canada/toronto-drug-squad-officer-dies-of-fentanyl-overdose-police-1.3681200
NOPE Task Force – Narcotics Overdose Prevention & Education. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.nopetaskforce.org/about.php
A. (2014, June 20). Behavioral Health Treatments and Services. Retrieved from https://www.samhsa.gov/treatment