Kendall is a city in Miami-Dade County with a population of over 75,000 people. It’s in the center of the Miami metropolitan area, which is characterized by a mix of urban and suburban life, all within a short drive of sunny South Florida beaches. The area is also vulnerable to high drug availability, which can cause substance use issues and public health problems. Opioids are the leading cause of a recent spike in overdose deaths in the past few years. Learn about the importance of opioid treatment in Kendall.
According to a report by Florida’s Medical Examiners Commission, alcohol and drugs were found in 12,080 deaths that were investigated by medical examiners in 2018. Opioids were involved in 5,576 of those deaths, and they were a direct cause of death in 3,727 of those cases.
Opioids are a significant cause of the spike in overdose deaths and addiction rates over the last few years. Communities like Kendall are often exposed to opioid use disorders by high drug availability. The Miami metropolitan area is often targeted by drug traffickers that smuggle substances into South Florida’s seaports. According to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s 2019 Drug Threat Assessment, the Miami field division reported high availability of the opioid fentanyl, which is a powerful synthetic opioid.
Prescription opioid misuse, heroin, and fentanyl contribute to high rates of addiction and overdose in South Florida. Fentanyl is one of the major causes of the spike in overdose deaths in the last five years. It’s often mixed into heroin and other drugs without users knowing, increasing the risk for overdose.
Medical examiners reported that heroin was found in 59 overdose deaths in Miami in 2018. However, the body breaks down heroin into morphine quickly. Morphine was found in 126 deaths in the city, which could point to higher heroin-related deaths. Fentanyl was found in 166 deaths in Miami and 287 deaths in Fort Lauderdale.
In 2016, there were 3,092 treatment admissions where opioid prescriptions were the primary drug of abuse in the Miami area, including Kendall. There were 5,011 admissions where heroin was the primary drug of abuse. Generally, only a fraction of the people struggling with substance use disorders gets the help they need.
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Opioid addiction is a chronic disease that may get worse over time. Treatment often begins with an assessment with medical and clinical professionals. If you have a higher medical needs, you may go through a detox program, which involves 24-hour medically managed treatment from medical professionals.
Detox is intended to help ease a person through the withdrawal period safely. Opioid withdrawal isn’t usually life-threatening, but it can be extremely uncomfortable. Withdrawal from opioids can cause intense flu-like symptoms, including nausea, sweating, vomiting, and diarrhea. In some cases, opioid withdrawal can cause dehydration, which can be dangerous.
After detox, opioid treatment can involve inpatient and outpatient treatment settings. When you first enter treatment, you’ll sit down with a therapist to form a treatment plan that’s tailored to your needs. Then, you’ll meet each week to re-assess your plan and adjust it as needed. Your treatment plan may involve an individual, group, or family therapy. It may also involve medications, behavioral therapies, and other psychotherapies.
American Psychiatric Association. (2017, January). What Is Addiction? Retrieved from https://www.psychiatry.org/patients-families/addiction/what-is-addiction
DEA. (2019). 2019 National Drug Threat Assessment. Retrieved from https://www.dea.gov/documents/2020/01/30/2019-national-drug-threat-assessment
Medical examiners Commission. (2019, November). Drugs Identified in Deceased Persons by Florida Medical Examiners. Retrieved from https://www.fdle.state.fl.us/MEC/Publications-and-Forms/Documents/Drugs-in-Deceased-Persons/2018-Interim-Drug-Report-FINAL.aspx
NDEWS Coordinating Center. (2017, November). Southeastern Florida (Miami Area) Sentinel Community Site … Retrieved from https://ndews.umd.edu/sites/ndews.umd.edu/files/florida-scs-drug-use-patterns-and-trends-2017-final.pdf
National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2016, February). 8: Medical detoxification. Retrieved from https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/teaching-packets/understanding-drug-abuse-addiction/section-iii/7-medical-detoxification