Sunny southeastern Florida is home to beauty and beaches. Its many major seaports and transportation hubs make the state a haven for drug trafficking and, therefore, drug abuse and addiction. Located just north of Miami, Fort Lauderdale is the county seat of Broward County.
Just like in many other parts of the country, Fort Lauderdale and Broward County are in the midst of a public health crisis surrounding opioid abuse, addiction, and fatal overdoses. There are many measures being taken on a statewide and local level to provide residents with resources for prevention, intervention, treatment, and recovery.
Overdose deaths related to opioids are higher in Florida than the national averages. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) reports that around 68 percent of the total 4,698 overdoses reported in Florida in 2018 involved opioids. About 20.7 people per 100,000 residents died from an opioid-related overdose in the U.S. as a whole. There were close to 3,189 drug overdose deaths involving an opioid in Florida in 2018.
Synthetic drugs are man-made, which means they are often made in illegal laboratories. These drugs are unregulated, and many of them, like the opioid drug fentanyl, are extremely potent and highly dangerous. The death toll from synthetic opioids has spiked in recent years, and Sun-Sentinel reports that fentanyl is likely one of the main culprits to the dramatic rise in overdose deaths in Broward County.
To determine which drugs are commonly abused in a region, admissions into treatment programs are factored in to determine the primary drugs of abuse. Alcohol is the No.1 substance of abuse in Broward County based on admission to addiction treatment programs. In 2015, close to a third of all people admitted into an addiction treatment program cited alcohol as the primary drug of abuse.
For adolescents and teenagers under age 18, marijuana was the most commonly cited drug, as more than 90 percent cited it as the primary drug of abuse. Synthetic cathinones (often called bath salts), illicitly made fentanyl, heroin, prescription opioids, and cocaine are also drugs of concern in Broward County. In addition, benzodiazepines like alprazolam (Xanax) are also commonly misused and combined with other drugs when abused.
In May 2017, Gov. Rick Scott of Florida issued a state of emergency executive order in regard to the opioid crisis, and in February 2018, this order was extended. This order aims to address the public health concern and reduce the number of opioid-related overdose deaths. Florida has several important pieces of legislature that serve this purpose.
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Florida also passed the pill mill law on opioid prescribing and utilization, which helps to crack down on overprescription of opioid drugs by targeting pill mills and holding health care providers more accountable, which, in turn, regulates the dispensing of narcotics and controlled substances.
Addiction is a chronic disease that is likely to get worse if it’s not addressed. Severe substance use disorders are capable of affecting multiple parts of a person’s life, including their health, finances, and social life. Effective addiction treats a variety of issues that are directly and indirectly related to addiction.
Drug rehab is a complex process that’s built around your specific needs. There’s no one universal treatment plan that works for each person. Instead, you may go through therapy options that address specific issues like trauma therapy or treatment for specific mental health issues.
American Psychiatric Association. (2017, January). What Is Addiction? Retrieved from https://www.psychiatry.org/patients-families/addiction/what-is-addiction
National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2020, April 3). Florida: Opioid-Involved Deaths and Related Harms. Retrieved from https://www.drugabuse.gov/drugs-abuse/opioids/opioid-summaries-by-state/florida-opioid-summary
State of Florida. (2018, February 19). 2020 Executive Orders. Retrieved from https://www.flgov.com/2020-executive-orders/
United Way of Broward County. (2016, June). Commission on Behavioral Health & Drug Prevention. Retrieved from https://www.unitedwaybroward.org/commission-behavioral-health-drug-prevention
Velzer, R. V. (2018, June 2). Fentanyl fuels rise in drug deaths in South Florida. Retrieved from https://www.sun-sentinel.com/news/florida/fl-reg-overdose-death-report-20171016-story.html