Broward County is a coastal county in Florida. It’s situated in the middle of a major metropolitan area, sandwiched between Palm Beach and Miami-Dade counties. Along with the rest of the country, Broward has seen a significant impact from the opioid crisis. However, as opioid addiction and overdose continue to rise, alcohol abuse remains one of the biggest causes of substance use disorders. Learn more about alcohol rehab in Broward County and alcoholism in Florida.
Alcohol is one of the most frequently used nonmedical substances in the United States, next to caffeine and nicotine. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, more than 86 percent of respondents to a 2018 national survey said they drank alcohol at some point in their lifetime. In 2018, more than 26 percent of adults said they binge drank in the past month.
In Broward County, alcohol was found in half of the drug-related deaths in 2016. That same year, a fourth of people admitted to addiction treatment in Broward said alcohol was their primary drug.
In Florida, 3,301 people died with prescription drugs in their system; many of these cases involved mixing prescriptions with alcohol.
Alcohol is often mixed with other drugs either intentionally or by accident. When it’s done on purpose, it is to increase either drug’s recreational effects. However, mixing alcohol with certain substances can be dangerous and even deadly. Mixing alcohol with stimulants like cocaine can counteract the drowsiness caused by alcohol and some of the negative effects of the stimulant.
For that reason, people sometimes take higher doses, believing they haven’t been significantly affected by the substance, which can lead to an overdose.
Mixing alcohol with opioids or prescription depressants can cause the substances to potentiate, having a stronger effect on the nervous system than if the drugs were taken on their own. This also can lead to an overdose with relatively small doses of each individual drug.
Using alcohol with other drugs is called polydrug use, and it’s relatively common in Florida. For instance, diazepam (Valium) is a common prescription benzodiazepine. In 2018, medical examiners found that it was the only drug in a person’s system at the time of their death seven times. However, diazepam was found alongside other substances in 283 deaths.
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Florida is a national hub for addiction treatment. Its year-round temperate weather makes it an ideal place to attend drug and alcohol rehab. Florida drug rehabs pioneered what has come to be called the Florida Model, which is a stepped approach to treatment.
Florida addiction treatment has also seen some recent controversy in what has been called the pill mill scandal. In the 1990s and 2000s, shady clinics gave out opioid prescriptions with little oversight, which may have contributed to the national opioid crisis. Since then, Florida lawmakers and law enforcement have cracked down on these clinics to elevate the quality of care in the state.
Addiction is a complex disease that’s characterized by compulsive drug or alcohol use despite serious consequences. It’s diagnosed as a severe substance use disorder, and it often requires addiction treatment.
Treatment is a multidisciplinary process that tends to multiple needs that are directly or indirectly related to substance use issues. Effective treatment will address medical, psychological, or social needs.
Alcohol can be dangerous during withdrawal, so treatment often starts with healthcare services like medical detox. When you can live on your own without 24-hour treatment, you may progress to an outpatient program.
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/sites/default/files/images/Commission%20on%20Behavioral%20Health%20%26%20Drug%20Prevention/Prevention%20Resource%20Center/June-2017-Broward-Substance-Abuse-Trends-Report.pdf
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