Despite its allure of sunshine and rich Latin culture, South Florida has been affected by the opioid crisis. According to the most recent numbers, it claims 128 lives per day throughout the United States, says The National Institute on Drug Abuse. During the 90s, pharmaceutical representatives approached doctors claiming their product was harmless. However, it caused an entire generation to get hooked on opioids, proving these claims were baseless and driven by greed.
In the 1990s and beyond, addiction to painkillers became widespread. Once the government intervened and applied pressure to physicians to slow the prescribing of opioids, it forced drug users to pick up a cheaper and more accessible habit – heroin. When doctors were held responsible for their actions of causing addiction, they stopped prescribing the drugs, which made pills much more expensive and harder to obtain.
Fast forward to today, heroin has been pushed aside for an even cheaper and more deadly drug – fentanyl. Fentanyl has swept the nation by storm, and areas like South Florida have been hit hard by the drug, which is 50 to 100 times stronger than heroin. Since the region is within proximity of three major ports, drugs come in and flood the area, causing those in its wake to dig early graves or lose everything they’ve earned.
If you’re seeking opioid treatment in South Florida, it might be in your best interest to continue reading. Opioid treatment in South Florida employs scientifically proven methods, such as Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT), which has proven successful in a vast majority of cases. Let’s take a more in-depth look into how substance abuse is affecting South Florida.
South Florida has long been known for its 24-hour alcohol and cocaine infused lifestyle for the rich and famous. Its warm weather and inviting low taxes lure in people from all over the world. However, in recent memory, opioids have emerged as the front runner for some of the most abused drugs in the area.
According to the latest numbers released by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, there was 67,367 drug overdose throughout the United States in 2018, with opioids accounting for 46,802 of these fatalities. The number accounts for 70 percent of all overdose deaths.
As we mentioned above, South Florida is close to three major entry points into the United States – The Port of Miami, Fort Lauderdale, and Palm Beach. It is causing adverse effects to ripple throughout the region.
In Florida alone, 68 percent of the 4,698 drug overdose deaths included opioids in 2018. Fentanyl caused 2,091 deaths throughout the state, while prescription opioids accounted for 689 and heroin at 1,282 deaths.
In 2017, South Florida witnessed the fourth year of a continued increase in opioid-caused deaths. In 2016, the region saw 3,922 opioid-related deaths, while in 2017, it jumped to 4,279, a nine percent increase.
Fentanyl caused deaths to increase from 1,390 to 1,742 in 2017, a 25 percent increase. White males between the ages of 25 and 34 continue to make up the majority of such deaths throughout South Florida.
Opioid withdrawal is an uncomfortable process that involves cessation from heroin, prescription painkillers, or fentanyl. Although it’s not considered life-threatening, someone who cannot tolerate the symptoms may turn back to using drugs, which could cause a deadly overdose due to a lowered tolerance.
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If you’re ready to change your life and get the help you deserve and need, it may be time to consider opioid treatment in South Florida. Though it’s not as dangerous when compared to substances like alcohol, benzodiazepines, or barbiturates, if you’re ready to get help and enjoy long-term abstinence, treatment is your best option.
Opioid treatment in South Florida consists of entering long-term inpatient or outpatient therapy geared toward safely detoxing the drug(s) from your system, and providing Evidence-Based Treatment (EBT) options to teach you how to relive your life drug-free. It’s a challenging but necessary path for those ready to free themselves from active addiction. Upon entry, you’ll be assessed by clinicians to determine which level of care is suitable for your needs.
For those who have gone through the treatment process several times, clinicians may decide that Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) is the most suitable option to gain meaningful recovery. For others at a lower risk of relapse, it could mean an outpatient program that allows them to continue working, going through school, or raising a family while meeting their obligations in treatment.
Opioid treatment in South Florida may be the difference between life or death – don’t become a statistic and get the help you deserve.
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
Patterns and Trends of the Opioid Epidemic in Florida 2018. Retrieved from http://www.floridahealth.gov/statistics-and-data/e-forcse/fl-seow-annual-report-2018.pdf