Coral Springs is a tiny city situated right in the middle of Florida’s Everglades and white-sand beaches in Broward County. It is only a few miles from Fort Lauderdale, but its residents have a serious problem with alcohol. Alcohol is prevalent nationwide, and it is the most frequently used nonmedical substance, only behind nicotine and caffeine.
A 2018 national survey released by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism revealed that 86 percent of respondents said they consumed alcohol at some point in their lives. Another 26 percent said they binge drank in the past month. Addiction is a problem affecting those nationwide, but areas like Coral Springs have seen a spike in its use.
In Broward County alone, alcohol was associated with more than half of the drug-related deaths in 2016. In that same timeframe, a quarter of those admitted to addiction treatment in the area said alcohol was their drug of choice.
Florida state witnessed 3,301 deaths caused by prescription drugs – a majority of these cases involved alcohol and prescription drugs used together.
Alcohol is a substance that people use with other drugs. Whether this act is intentional or by accident, it can increase the drug’s recreational effects. When you mix alcohol with most substances, it can cause a fatal outcome. When alcohol is used in conjunction with cocaine, it typically counteracts the drowsiness, which prompts a user to drink more. Alcohol may also stop the adverse effects of cocaine, causing them to use higher doses. It may lead to a fatal overdose.
When alcohol is combined with prescription depressants and opioids, it may cause the substance to have a more substantial effect on the nervous system than if the drug was used alone. It may also lead to an overdose with a small amount of each individual drug.
When drugs and alcohol are used in conjunction, it’s known as polydrug use, which is common in Florida. Valium is a commonly prescribed benzodiazepine, and in 2018, the drug was found in their system seven times at the time of death. However, the drug was found in 283 deaths with other substances.
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For decades, Florida has been the model for addiction treatment nationwide. Many facilities worldwide have modeled their centers around the Florida model. The reason treatment in the state has been so successful is because it’s a stepped approach, which means you are only placed in a level sufficient for your current needs.
As mentioned above, treatment must be facilitated as a multidisciplinary process that tends to the needs directly or indirectly linked to substance abuse. An effective program will address social, medical, and psychological needs.
Addiction is extremely complex, and the only way to overcome it is to enter a treatment program. It is considered a severe substance use disorder by doctors, and unfortunately, many succumb to the disease without adequate help.
American Psychiatric Association. (2017, January). What Is Addiction? Retrieved from https://www.psychiatry.org/patients-families/addiction/what-is-addiction
Alcohol Facts and Statistics. (2020, February 18). Retrieved from https://www.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/brochures-and-fact-sheets/alcohol-facts-and-statistics
United Way of Broward County. (2017, June). Drug Abuse Trends In Broward County, Florida. Retrieved from https://www.unitedwaybroward.org/commission-behavioral-health-drug-prevention
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
National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2018, July). Treatment and Recovery. Retrieved from https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugs-brains-behavior-science-addiction/treatment-recovery