Weston, Florida, is a planned suburban community in the southwestern corner of Broward County. It’s home to more than 70,000 residents and a popular city for families. Though Weston is an idyllic suburban setting by many standards, it’s not immune to the substance use issues or the opioid epidemic that’s spreading across the United States.
In addition to opioids, alcohol, and stimulants like cocaine continue to be a problem across South Florida. Learn more about the addiction problem in Weston and addiction treatment options you might have in Florida.
Addiction isn’t selective about who it can affect, and people from every race, geographic location, and income bracket have experienced the disease. South Florida has even seen an influx of fentanyl, a powerful opioid that has caused a surge in the opioid epidemic in the past few years. Florida saw 2,670 overdose deaths where fentanyl was involved in 2016. In 2018, the number of fentanyl-related deaths grew to 2,703 people in the state as a whole. Fort Lauderdale alone saw 287 deaths where fentanyl was involved in just 2018.
The majority of people that attend addiction treatment, especially medical detox, have alcohol use disorders. Alcohol is legal to sell and buy, and it’s more widely available. However, opioids are the second most widely available illicit drug in the United States after marijuana. Drugs like heroin and fentanyl are smuggled into the country by transnational criminal organizations. Stimulants are also a problem for South Florida, including amphetamines, cocaine, and meth.
Florida is a popular treatment destination because of it’s temperate weather and sunshine. It also has a long history in drug rehab. Treatment centers were established in the state throughout the 20th century, and they pioneered the Florida model, which is an approach to treatment that involves stepped progression. However, the recent pill mill scandal, in which unethical Florida clinics gave out opioid medications without oversight, may have led to the excess of pills and might have contributed to the opioid epidemic in Florida and the rest of the country. Since the problem was discovered, Florida legislation and law enforcement has worked to outlaw and shut down these clinics.
Substance abuse treatment, more commonly called addiction treatment or rehab, is a process that addresses the physical, psychological, and social problems that are directly or indirectly related to addiction. Effective addiction treatment addresses substance abuse directly, but it also treats co-occurring issues like psychological issues, legal trouble, financial instability, and a lack of life skills.
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It’s difficult to identify the specific causes of a substance use disorder definitively. Generally, it’s a combination of genetic, environmental, and developmental factors that work together to lead to addiction. Plus, addiction can cause things like health and social problems that can complicate treatment. For those reasons, addiction treatment is complex and tailored to individual needs.Addiction is treated in four basic levels of care that are designed to meet a person’s specific needs. To determine the level of care that’s ideal for any given person, clinicians use an assessment called the ASAM criteria, which is a set of six dimensions of need outlined by the American Society of Addiction Medicine.
ASAM. (n.d.). What is the ASAM Criteria? Retrieved from https://www.asam.org/resources/the-asam-criteria/about
American Psychiatric Association. (2017, January). What Is Addiction? Retrieved from https://www.psychiatry.org/patients-families/addiction/what-is-addiction
CDC. (2019, May 31). Fentanyl. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/drugoverdose/opioids/fentanyl.html
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
United Way of Broward County. (2018). Broward County Opioid Action Plan. Retrieved from https://www.unitedwaybroward.org/prevention-resource-center