Fort Lauderdale is a vibrant city located on the southeast coast of Florida. It is home to a diverse range of people from many countries and cultures, and the city offers a plethora of activities that appeal to almost everyone. It is also an area that has struggled with opioid addiction, “pill mills,” and rampant overdoses due to opioids.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, in 2018, 46,802 overdose deaths involved opioids, which is nearly 70 percent of all deaths from overdose that year.
The 1990s was a time when representatives from pharmaceutical companies met with physicians and claimed their products were not addictive. This turned out to clearly not be the case, as thousands of people become addicted to opioids.
In 2011, the Florida House and Senate passed a bill to shut down the many “pill mills,” which were businesses posing as pain clinics, and where people addicted to opioids could go and obtain more opioids. The new law set penalties for doctors who overprescribed these medications. The law also prevented doctors in these types of businesses from overprescribing opioid medication, and a new database was set up to monitor opioid prescriptions.
South Florida became the epicenter for opioid addiction during this time, and Fort Lauderdale was right in the middle of it. With “pain clinics” shut down and opioids harder to get, those addicted looked for an alternative. Heroin was cheaper to get. And then fentanyl became cheaper to get.
Fentanyl is 80 to 100 times stronger than morphine and less expensive to obtain than prescription opioids. Drug dealers can mix it with other drugs because it is cheap, thereby producing a less expensive product to make and sell the adulterated drug at a higher price. People who were struggling with an opioid addiction now had something to soothe their craving. But it came with a fatal price—death.
Opioid addiction treatment in Fort Lauderdale employs scientifically backed treatments, like Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT), which is a proven and successful method of treatment for a great number of people addicted to opioids.
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Fort Lauderdale is widely known for its many clubs, bars, restaurants, and entertainment venues. It was also known as the “doctor shopping” area of the state. Today, opioids are still a problem for those who misuse and abuse them, as well as for first responders, families, friends, and workplaces.
The state has seen a large uptick in the number of people addicted to synthetic opioids, such as fentanyl, from 2015 to 2018. The number of people using heroin has also seen a rise from the same period.
In October 2019, a news report from WUSF stated that the Florida Department of Health would fund a grant annually worth $12 million each to county health departments in Broward, Palm Beach, and Duval.
The grant is meant to be used to prevent opioid overdose, and help pregnant women stop using opioids, which can result in neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS), a syndrome in which newborn babies experience opiate withdrawal after being exposed to it in the womb.
Broward County reported that opiates accounted for more than a third of addiction treatment admissions in 2016. Eighty-eight percent of the people admitted said they injected heroin, and 45 percent said they injected an opiate other than heroin.
Fort Lauderdale experienced the fourth year of an increase in opioid-caused deaths. In 2016, the area reported 3,922 opioid-related deaths, while in 2017, it jumped to 4,279, which is a 9 percent increase.
Fentanyl caused an increase in fatalities from 1,390 to 1,742 in 2017, which is a 25 percent increase. White males between the ages of 25 and 34 make up the majority of these deaths in the Fort Lauderdale area.
Opioid treatment in Fort Lauderdale can help you or someone you love overcome addiction to these dangerous drugs.
Opioid withdrawal is an unpleasant process that involves a lack of use from prescription pain relievers, fentanyl, and heroin. It is usually not a life-threatening process; however, someone who cannot tolerate the symptoms could turn back to using drugs, which may lead to a deadly overdose due to a lowered tolerance.
Opioid treatment in Fort Lauderdale consists of entering long-term inpatient or outpatient therapy that assists people in safely detoxing from the drug(s) from their system.
Evidence-Based Treatment (EBT) options teach an individual how to live life drug-free. It may seem challenging at first, but it is necessary to overcome active addiction. Clinicians will assess the person to determine which level of care is suited for their individual needs.
For those who have gone through the treatment process several times and can’t overcome drug use, clinicians may decide that Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) is the most beneficial option to gain sustainable recovery. For those at a lower risk of relapse, it might mean an outpatient program that allows them to continue working, go to school, or raise a family while meeting their obligations in treatment.
Opioid treatment in Fort Lauderdale could be the difference between life or death.
NIDA. (2020, July 2). Florida: Opioid-Involved Deaths and Related Harms. Retrieved from https://www.drugabuse.gov/drug-topics/opioids/opioid-summaries-by-state/florida-opioid-involved-deaths-related-harms
Partnership to End Addiction. (2011 May) Florida "Pill Mill" Bill Passes House and Senate; Governor Plans to Sign Measure. Retrieved from https://drugfree.org/drug-and-alcohol-news/florida-pill-mill-bill-passes-house-and-senate-governor-plans-to-sign-measure/
Drug Enforcement Administration. Fentanyl. Retrieved from https://www.dea.gov/factsheets/fentanyl
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration. Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT). (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.samhsa.gov/medication-assisted-treatment
NIDA. (2020, July 2). Florida: Opioid-Involved Deaths and Related Harms. Figure 1. Number of drug and opioid-involved overdose deaths in Florida. Retrieved from https://www.drugabuse.gov/drug-topics/opioids/opioid-summaries-by-state/florida-opioid-involved-deaths-related-harms
WUSF. Health News Florida. (2019, October 3) Feds Give Over $58 Million For Florida's Opioid Crisis. Oppenheimer, L. Retrieved from https://health.wusf.usf.edu/post/feds-give-over-58-million-floridas-opioid-crisis#stream/0
United Way Broward County. 2018 Broward County Opiate Action Plan. Percent of Treatment Admissions by Primary Drug Broward County: 2009 – 2016. Retrieved from https://www.unitedwaybroward.org/sites/default/files/images/Commission%20on%20Behavioral%20Health%20%26%20Drug%20Prevention/Prevention%20Resource%20Center/Opiate-Action-Plan-2018.pdf
U.S. Library of Medicine. Medline Plus. Opiate and opioid withdrawal: Retrieved from https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/000949.htm