Opioids are prescription drugs that can help treat pain in people that have severe cancer pains, injuries, and surgeries. But they’re also one of the most significant causes of addiction and overdose in the state of Florida. Homestead is located near many major seaports in South Florida, which are major targets for the illicit drug trade. Opioids like fentanyl have become one of the most dangerous substances in Florida, surpassing alcohol as the number one culprit in drug-related deaths. Addressing an opioid use disorder is important in avoiding some of the most serious consequences of addiction. Outpatient treatment is one option in addressing opioid addiction. 

Learn more about outpatient treatment in Homestead and how it can help you address your opioid use problems. 

What Are Opioids?

Opioids are a class of substances that work by binding to opioid receptors in the brain. These receptors are designed to work with the body’s natural opioids called endorphins, which work to manage the body’s response to pain. Opioids are sold as prescription pain relievers, and they can be much more potent than your endorphins when it comes to stopping moderate to severe pain. However, opioids can also cause you to experience euphoria, and many people use them as recreational drugs. Opioids are prescribed in drugs like Vicodin and Oxycontin. When these drugs are used for too long or used as recreational drugs, they can lead to dependence and addiction. Opioids are also sold illicitly. Heroin is the most popular illicit opioid, but it’s often mixed with fentanyl, a powerful synthetic opioid that can be deadly in small doses.

Opioid Addiction Statistics in Homestead

Addiction and drug use have contributed to many drug-related deaths in the state of Florida. According to a 2019 report from the Medical Examiners Commission in Florida, there were four percent more drug-related deaths in 2019 than in 2018. In the first half of 2020, the Medical Examiners Commission reported a 13 percent increase from the previous January through June. The opioid epidemic has significantly impacted the state of Florida, as it has affected the whole country. Florida’s many miles of coastline, major international seaports, and large population make it a popular target for the international illicit drug trade. 

Opioids have been a serious problem in Florida for many years, but the 2020 report revealed an alarming trend. Since 2013, alcohol was the number one substance found in drug-related deaths. The first half of 2020 marked the first time that another drug, the powerful synthetic opioid fentanyl, surpassed alcohol as the most associated substance in drug-related deaths. 

Overall, there were 3,834 deaths in which opioids were involved in the first half of 2020. Of these, 3,034 cases are thought to have opioids as the chief cause of death. Fentanyl was involved in 2,838 cases. In Miami, Homestead’s neighbor to the north, there were 184 fentanyl-involved deaths in the first six months of 2020. In all but 13 of these cases, fentanyl is thought to have been the chief cause. There were 226 fentanyl-related deaths in 2016 in Miami. 

Does Homestead Have an Opioid Problem?

Like much of the country, opioids are a serious threat to public health. Opioids are shipped into the country by sea and, with Florida’s abundance of coastlines, it can be hard for law enforcement to prevent heroin, fentanyl, and other illicit drugs from entering the state. Prescription opioids are also misused in Florida, which can contribute to addiction and later illegal drug use. In fact, prescription drugs, including opioids and benzodiazepines, are associated with more deaths than illicit drugs like heroin and cocaine. The increase in fentanyl in the past few years represents a serious threat to people in active addiction. 

Fentanyl is often mixed into heroin, counterfeit pills, and other drugs. It is cheaper and easier to make than other opioids, so adding it to something like adulterated heroin can increase its potential value. However, it can also lead to a deadly overdose. Fentanyl is many times stronger than heroin, and its analogs are the strongest opioids available. Small doses can be fatal to the average person. In Miami, 256 of the 260 fentanyl-involved deaths were cases where multiple drugs were found in the system of the deceased. In many cases, people don’t go looking for fentanyl. Instead, they look for heroin or other drugs and take fentanyl without realizing it. 

Opioid Addiction Treatment Options in Homestead

homestead opioid treatment

Florida has a significant addiction problem, but there are several treatment options in and around Homestead. Addiction treatment is a form of healthcare, and it’s treated as a healthcare issue by medical professionals and insurance providers. Law requires that insurance companies need to offer coverage for both behavioral and mental health issues in the same way they offer coverage for medical treatment and procedures. Most treatment centers accept the majority of private insurance providers, though some private addiction treatment centers won’t accept coverage from government-funded insurance options like Medicare and Medicaid. However, there are some federally-funded options for people with those insurance plans. 

Treatment for opioids may span across several different levels of care and therapy options. Opioids aren’t known to have a high likelihood of causing life-threatening withdrawal symptoms. However, opioid withdrawal can be extremely uncomfortable, making it difficult for you to get through it by yourself without using the drug again. In some situations, it can lead to some medical complications that can be dangerous, like dehydration. Because of these factors, many people start opioid treatment with medical detox.

Medical detox involves 24-hour medically managed treatment. It’s designated for people that are likely to get through severe withdrawal symptoms and people that have other medical needs that could be complicated by withdrawal. In detox, you may be treated with medications to help manage symptoms, especially if you enter treatment with severe withdrawal symptoms. You may also be treated with individual and group therapy options to begin to address some of the deeper issues that are related to addiction, like mental health disorders.

How Does Outpatient Treatment Work?

Outpatient treatment allows you to attend treatment during the day while you live independently at night. Higher levels of care involve inpatient or residential treatment services, which involve 24 hours of medical or clinical care each day. Outpatient treatment is separated into several different levels depending on the amount of time you spend in treatment each week. Partial hospitalization (PHP) is the highest level of care in outpatient treatment. PHP requires 20 hours of treatment services each week or more. The next level is intensive outpatient treatment, which requires more than nine hours of treatment services each week. Standard outpatient treatment is the lowest level of care in addiction treatment and involves fewer than nine hours of treatment services each week. 

At each level of outpatient treatment, you’ll go through a treatment plan that’s personalized to your needs. Your plan may include a variety of treatment approaches and therapy options, including individual, group, and family therapy. Group therapy is a mainstay in addiction treatment. It allows you to forge interpersonal connections with other people and build up social skills. Group therapy also provides accountability to continue in treatment and to safeguard your sobriety. You can also learn about the problems, challenges, and coping techniques that other people go through and learn to empathize with them. 

Individual therapy is common, especially when you form and assess your treatment plan and relapse prevention strategies. In individual therapy, a counselor may guide you through several therapy options. Behavioral therapies are common in addiction treatment, and cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is one of the most common. CBT is used to help identify high-risk situations and things that can trigger cravings and urges to relapse. Then you’ll examine your coping responses and find more effective ways to cope with triggers. CBT also seeks to increase your self-efficacy, which is your belief that you can succeed in your recovery. 

Who is Outpatient Treatment For?

Doctors, clinicians, and other professionals that treat substance use problems often use the ASAM Criteria to help determine the best level of care for a person’s needs. The criteria outline six important factors that should be considered in addiction treatment. They can help identify high-level needs, moderate needs, and low-level needs. If you have several high-level needs, you will probably need to go through a higher level of care like inpatient treatment. 

Someone that can benefit from outpatient treatment might have some of the following qualities according to the ASAM Criteria:

  • They have a low potential for experiencing severe withdrawal symptoms. 
  • They have a low potential for severe medical complications that require intensive monitoring.
  • They don’t have psychological conditions or complications that need high-level care.
  • They’re ready to make a change or to begin making a change.
  • They have a low potential for continued drug use and aren’t at high risk for relapse.
  • They live in a place that doesn’t threaten their safety or sobriety.
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