The first thoughts of Florida are related to sunshine and retirement communities, Disneyworld, and hurricanes. Although the state has established a reputation of a tax-friendly safe haven for businesses and investors, the influx of residents and opioid addiction has brought it to its knees. Unfortunately, despite its prevalence nationwide, opioid addiction has caused adverse effects to Florida. Although we’ve seen a slight decrease in numbers nationwide, the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) estimates 128 lives are stolen each day due to opioid overdose.
Opioid addiction has long been an issue; however, in the 1990s, pharmaceutical reps began approaching physicians about using opiate pain medication in their practice. They discussed the advantages and pleaded that addiction was an unlikely outcome. Physicians listened and began prescribing potent drugs for minor injuries, which led to unlikely candidates becoming full-time opioid users. Once the government stepped in to slow this issue, those already addicted moved to use heroin because medication grew harder to obtain legitimately.
Today, the drugs have continued to change, and we’re facing an even more deadly epidemic – fentanyl has infiltrated our streets and caused a nation of heartache. Fentanyl, and its many analogs, are considered 50 to 100 times more potent than heroin. The precursor comes from China, meaning they enter the United States through one of Florida’s many ports. The influx of opioid addiction throughout the state has caused a significant need for opioid treatment in Florida.
If Florida interests you in more ways than one and you want to get help for opioid addiction in the state, you should continue reading. Opioid treatment in Florida relies on scientifically sound methods, such as Evidence-Based Treatment (EBT) and Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT). These methods show promise, even for those trapped in the deepest realms of addiction. Let’s dive a little deeper into how substance abuse has affected Florida.
Florida was the center of controversy several years ago due to the rise of “pill mills” throughout the state. Individuals from around the United States were embarking on a journey to the sunshine state for prescription opioids from crooked doctors. Investigative journalists would show cars in the parking lots from all over the country, who were doctor shopping for access to highly potent opioids like OxyContin. Unfortunately, this led to an explosion of abuse, local and afar.
As of 2018, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), the United States recorded a staggering 67,367 drug overdose deaths. Opioid drugs were at the forefront and accounted for 46,802 of these unfortunate deaths. That number translates to 70 percent of all overdose deaths stemming from opioids, such as prescription painkillers, heroin, and fentanyl.
Florida has significant ports of entry scattered throughout the state, meaning that shipments of drugs can enter from the North, West, East, or South. The effects are felt nationwide; however, local areas have been flooded with a variety of drugs.
As we described in detail above, Florida is home to ports all over the state. Although there’s no evidence the ports are causing the staggering numbers of drug abuse, Florida experienced 4,698 drug overdose deaths in 2018 – opioids caused 68 percent. Heroin was the culprit for 1,282 deaths, prescription opioids accounted for another 689, while fentanyl was the leader with 2,091 deaths.
Despite a crackdown by the U.S. Government, Florida still wrote above the average rate for prescription opioids. Providers in the state issued 53.7 opioid prescriptions for every 100 persons, which is above the 51.4 per 100 persons in the United States. Despite the high number, it’s still the lowest rate since 2006 when data became available.
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Although opioid withdrawal is an uncomfortable process, it’s not something you should worry about being life-threatening. However, those unable to cope with the less-than-desirable symptoms may turn back to drugs or seek more potent opioids to deal with the symptoms – this may lead to relapse, which could be deadly since the body’s tolerance will decrease dramatically in a few days.
If you’re ready to make a change in your life and all that’s holding you back is opioid withdrawal, you should consider opioid treatment in Florida. A dedicated team of specialists will work around-the-clock to ensure your comfort during this delicate process, which will prepare you for long-term abstinence.
Opioid treatment in Florida will be different for everyone who enters. Addiction treatment has evolved beyond the cookie-cutter approach, which is centered around one model of help. Upon entry into a facility, clients will be evaluated and thoroughly assessed to determine any pressing medical issues and the length of their addiction. It could mean residential treatment or outpatient treatment. All cases are individual and will be treated as such.
National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2020, June 10). Opioid Overdose Crisis. Retrieved from https://www.drugabuse.gov/drug-topics/opioids/opioid-overdose-crisis
National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2020, July 02). 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
MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia. (n.d.). Opiate and opioid withdrawal: Retrieved from https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/000949.htm
National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2020, June 11). Opioids. Retrieved from https://www.drugabuse.gov/drug-topics/opioids
SAMHSA. (n.d.). Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT). Retrieved from https://www.samhsa.gov/medication-assisted-treatment