Florida has been hit particularly hard by the ongoing opioid crisis. The prevalence of opioids throughout the state has been decimating communities. The primary concern in Broward County and the state of Florida as a whole is the explosion of non-pharmaceutical fentanyl. Fentanyl is among the most potent opioids in medical practice and on the streets.
This substance is responsible for the increase in opioid overdoses and deaths nationwide. Fentanyl is so cheap and powerful that dealers are moving over to it and capitalizing on a strong market. In 2016 alone, Florida saw 2,698 opioid-related overdose deaths. That breaks down to 14.4 deaths per 100,000 people. Other substances like alcohol, cocaine, and amphetamines also continue to pose a threat to public health in Plantation and South Florida.
The ability to seek help has become a lot less difficult than in years past, and those needing treatment now have many options.
According to a 2018 medical examiners report in Florida, alcohol was responsible for 5,140 deaths in the state in 2018. Heroin was involved in 940 deaths, and fentanyl was involved in 2,703 deaths. Cocaine was involved with 2,590 deaths. Many of these deaths were overdoses where more than one substance was present. Mixing opioids with alcohol or benzodiazepines can increase the potency of each drug, leading to a fatal overdose. Plantation’s neighboring city Fort Lauderdale experienced 287 fentanyl-related deaths in 2018.
Opioids are commonly abused in Broward County, but alcohol continues to be a problem. According to a 2017 report, 308,317 people aged 12 and up reported binging on alcohol, and 52,601 reported the non-medical use of pain prescriptions. Other common drugs of abuse include:
A bill called HB-21 was created, and it passed unanimously among Florida representatives. The bill was put into place to better regulate prescription opioids and how doctors dispense them. Overprescribing of these drugs is an undisputed reason as to why the crisis ballooned to where it is. If someone had a minor procedure, they would be prescribed a month’s worth of narcotics, which they continued to consume. HB-21 aimed at stopping this.
Substance abuse treatment is a series of treatment levels with the sole intention of getting the client well. Clients significantly increase their chances of long-term sobriety, the longer they stay in treatment. According to NIDA, 90 days is the ideal minimum treatment length.
For many people, the first phase of addiction treatment is medical detoxification. During this phase, you will go through withdrawal symptoms with the help of medical and clinical professionals. They will be your support system during this process that could last anywhere from three to seven days.
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The next stage of treatment will be determined by the severity of drug addiction and what the medical staff sees fit. This will depend on the types of drugs used if your home environment is adequate and how long you have abused drugs. The staff will create a medical plan that consists of residential treatment or an outpatient center. Your sobriety is their top priority, and they will place you only somewhere that fits your unique needs.
During your stay in residential or your visits to outpatient, you will participate in therapies that are designed to get to the root of the addiction. These will help you learn your triggers and how to manage them in the future. There will be support, education, and coping skills offered to manage this chronic disease.
American Psychiatric Association. (2017, January). What Is Addiction? Retrieved from https://www.psychiatry.org/patients-families/addiction/what-is-addiction
ASAM. (n.d.). What is the ASAM Criteria? Retrieved from https://www.asam.org/resources/the-asam-criteria/about
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, January). Principles of Effective Treatment. Retrieved from https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/principles-drug-addiction-treatment-research-based-guide-third-edition/principles-effective-treatment
NDEWS Coordinating Center. (2017, November). Southeastern Florida (Miami Area) Sentinel Community Site … Retrieved from https://ndews.umd.edu/sites/ndews.umd.edu/files/florida-scs-drug-use-patterns-and-trends-2017-final.pdf