Substance abuse and addiction affect many people in communities across the country. Some people will be able to stop their use on their own, but a group of them will need some kind of professional treatment to overcome their struggles with drugs and alcohol. According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 21.2 million people who were age 12 and up needed treatment for substance use in the past year in 2018.
Not everyone will get the help they need for different reasons, including not having the money for treatment or knowing where to receive treatment services. Some people, however, will give treatment a try and start a rehab program that offers a path to sobriety.
Margate, a suburban city in Broward County, Florida, is home to nearly 60,000 residents who enjoy a relaxed lifestyle and access to the amenities of the larger cities nearby. Fort Lauderdale is a short 20-minute drive east and south, near the Atlantic Ocean, and Miami is less than an hour’s drive south to Miami-Dade County. Both of these cities are located near major ports on the routes drug smugglers use to move addictive substances into the country illegally.
Like other communities in Broward and throughout Florida, Margate has experienced addiction and drug abuse. Because drugs are smuggled into South Florida and circulated throughout the region, access to them remains easy, which means drug rehab programs are needed to help people face their battle with substance abuse and addiction.
Overall, opioid addiction is an ongoing issue in Broward. The county has experienced a spike in opioid overdose cases since fentanyl increasingly started to turn up in street drugs, such as cocaine, heroin, and even methamphetamines. Recent years have seen overdose deaths reach record levels in Broward. In 2017, heroin was involved in 85 percent of the 1,642 overdoses that were treated in emergency rooms in area hospitals.
Fentanyl, an opioid that is up to 100 times stronger than morphine, has killed people in even the smallest dose. In 2018, a reported 110 people died of heroin-related overdoses in Fort Lauderdale. Fentanyl was also linked to 287 deaths in the county’s largest city.
Cocaine and benzodiazepine overdose rates also have increased, according to data presented by the Center for Applied Research on Substance Use and Health Disparities. The spike has been linked to the practice of mixing drugs with opioids like fentanyl, which is added to make the drugs stronger and stretch drug traffickers’ drug supply.
Alcohol and marijuana are popular among recreational drug users in the U.S., so they top the list of the most abused substances. Both are readily available and easy to come by, especially alcohol, which is sold in many retail outlets throughout the county.
Problematic alcohol use sends many people to treatment. According to substance abuse trends data, more than 25 percent of the people who received addiction treatment in 2016 named alcohol as their primary drug. Data also show that up to 87 percent of adolescents sought treatment at a facility for marijuana use in Broward County that year.
Heroin is also commonly used, as it is cheap and also easy to get as well. Prescription opioids, benzodiazepines, cocaine, synthetic marijuana (fake weed), synthetic cathinones, and designer drugs are also used.
Florida has attracted many people over the years who want to enjoy its lush landscapes and moderate weather as they work to put substance abuse behind them. Reputable treatment centers have opened their doors to offer various programs and services that address addiction and lead the way to a substance-free lifestyle.
In recent years, Florida lawmakers have worked to shut down clinics that were involved in the “pill mill” scandal that occurred in the state during the early 2000s. These clinics are thought to have helped fuel excessive opioid use throughout the state and the nation, hooking thousands of people on the drugs. Florida also implemented a law in 2018 to limit the number of opioid prescriptions that doctors can write out for their patients. This measure was the part of the state’s response to the opioid crisis, and state officials continue to monitor the issue.
Addiction is a complex illness affecting the brain that likely gets worse if it is not addressed properly. While the disease isn’t curable, a variety of therapies, programs, and services can help treat it.
The path to recovery looks different depending on who is receiving the treatment, so the most effective approaches take the individual’s needs into account and provide them with strategies and tools to help them understand their addiction and how to avoid a relapse.
It should be noted that relapse is expected in people who have completed a rehab program. The National Institute on Drug Abuse writes that addiction’s chronic nature “involves changing deeply rooted behaviors.”
Relapse rates for addiction are between 40 to 60 percent, the federal agency says. It compares that rate to the relapse rate for hypertension, which is between 50 to 70 percent. Many people think a relapse means treatment failed. However, it does not mean that. Instead, it should be taken as a sign that a person needs more time in a rehab program and that perhaps a different treatment approach is needed.
An accredited treatment center usually performs an assessment of a client to determine where to place the individual on the continuum of care.
2018 National Survey on Drug Use and Health. PDF file. from https://www.samhsa.gov/data/sites/default/files/cbhsq-reports/NSDUHNationalFindingsReport2018/NSDUHNationalFindingsReport2018.pdf
WLRN. (2018, August 30) Heroin Overdoses In Broward Remain At Record Levels. Switalski, C. from https://www.wlrn.org/post/heroin-overdoses-broward-remain-record-levels#stream/0
Medical examiners Commission. (2019, November). Drugs Identified in Deceased Persons by Florida Medical Examiners. from https://www.fdle.state.fl.us/MEC/Publications-and-Forms/Documents/Drugs-in-Deceased-Persons/2018-Interim-Drug-Report-FINAL.aspx
United Way of Broward County. United Way of Broward County Commission on Substance Abuse Drug Abuse Trends In Broward County, Florida. Annual Report: June 2017. 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
Saunders, Jim. (2018, March 19). Gov. Rick Scott signs bill targeting opioid addiction in Florida. from https://www.tallahassee.com/story/news/2018/03/19/gov-rick-scott-signs-bill-targeting-opioid-addiction-florida/438455002/
Drug addiction (substance use disorder). (2017, October 26). from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/drug-addiction/symptoms-causes/syc-20365112
National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2018, July). Treatment and Recovery. from https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugs-brains-behavior-science-addiction/treatment-recovery
American Society of Addiction Medicine. (2015, May 13) ASAM Continuum. Knowledge Base. What are the ASAM Levels of Care? from https://www.asamcontinuum.org/knowledgebase/what-are-the-asam-levels-of-care/