The rise in fentanyl use has been crippling the United States and Florida, and it has been a major contributor to deaths in South Florida. At the same time, cocaine, meth, and other commonly abused substances remain a problem in the Sunshine State.
Coastal cities like Dania Beach are particularly vulnerable to the drugs that are smuggled into major ports like Fort Lauderdale to the north and Miami to the south. Learn more about the drug threat in Florida and drug rehab in Dania Beach.
In 2014, studies showed that 410,000 individuals in Florida were addicted to drugs or alcohol. Later on, in 2016, another study reported that there were an estimated 5,000 drug overdoses in the state alone.
Deaths from fentanyl increased from 80 in 2014 to 324 in 2016 in Palm Beach County. Broward County also saw a dramatic increase. In 2014, on record, there are only 44 in comparison to 180 in 2016. The drug was used in cases for chronic pain patients who became tolerant to other opioids.
As of late, there has been a spike in dealers lacing fentanyl with heroin and pressing it into fake pharmaceutical pills. When a drug user has the intention of consuming what they think is heroin and it turns out to be fentanyl, they will ingest a much larger potent dose that could ultimately lead to an overdose.
Opioids are the leading cause of concern in the current addiction epidemic, but Dania Beach and Florida struggle with a variety of other substances as well. Cocaine has been a common drug of abuse in South Florida for decades, with 2,856 cocaine overdose deaths in the state in 2018. In Fort Lauderdale, the city that neighbors Dania Beach to the north, there were 236 overdose deaths in 2018.
Florida’s former Governor Rick Scott declared a state of emergency for Florida in 2017. The numbers continued to trend in the wrong direction, and drastic measures needed to be considered. This state of emergency had a few outcomes. It proposed $54 million in education programs, grants, and prevention services to help the residents who are in active addiction.
By declaring a state of emergency, Florida received federal funding and helped the fight against drugs. Lawmakers also fought to raise standards for treatment in Florida by cracking down on “pill mills,” which are unscrupulous clinics that gave out opioids with little oversight in the 1990s and 2000s.
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When considering substance use treatment in South Florida, a reliable tool to help determine a facility is the addiction treatment criteria set by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration (SAMHSA).
The most effective treatments are evidence-based treatment options. Insurance companies are more likely to approve facilities that provide these practices. These centers will use treatment methods that have been proven effective in scientific studies.
Once a program is complete, there must be aftercare support. Addiction is a lifelong disease that can be managed through support and awareness. Some treatment facilities offer alumni programs that can connect you to people in recovery who can encourage you in your sobriety and other post-treatment goals.
Allen, G. (2017, August 11). From Alaska To Florida, States Respond To Opioid Crisis With Emergency Declarations. Retrieved from https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2017/08/11/542836709/from-alaska-to-florida-states-respond-to-opioid-crisis-with-emergency-declaratio
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
SAMHSA. (2019, January 30). Behavioral Health Treatments and Services. Retrieved from https://www.samhsa.gov/find-help/treatment
Spencer, T. (2019, July 20). Florida 'pill mills' were 'gas on the fire' of opioid crisis. Retrieved from https://apnews.com/0ced46b203864d8fa6b8fda6bd97b60e
Velzer, R. V. (2018, June 2). Fentanyl fuels rise in drug deaths in South Florida. Retrieved from https://www.sun-sentinel.com/news/florida/fl-reg-overdose-death-report-20171016-story.html