Parkland, Florida, is a suburb city quietly tucked away in the northwest corner of Broward County. The municipality is home to a community of 32,000 residents and part of the larger Miami metropolitan area. The city landed at No. 2 at Money Inc.’s list of Florida’s wealthiest cities. According to the list, “residents earn an average of $128,292. The median house price is $475,000.”
While Parkland is a relatively safe area with low crime rates, it is not shielded from the realities of substance abuse and drug addiction. The city’s proximity to the area’s sizable population and dozens of coastal cities increases the likelihood that drugs are easily available, and addiction is a constant problem. Even here, the opioid epidemic is a significant concern.
Learn more about the substance abuse problem and how it can be treated in Parkland, Florida, and the surrounding area.
Engaging in chemical substance use often ends in death for the people who use them. The 2019 Florida Medical Examiners Commission report found that in 2018, chemical substances were involved in 12,080 of the 28,227 deaths in Florida.
While the state’s medical examiners found a small (3 percent) decline in deaths related to drug use between 2017 and 2018, heroin and synthetic opioid use continued to be a challenge on the substance abuse front in Broward County.
In Fort Lauderdale, which is located southeast of Parkland about a 30-minute drive away, fentanyl was involved in 287 deaths in the county. The city also had 110 heroin deaths in Fort Lauderdale; however, the substance rapidly metabolized in the body and turned into morphine, which was involved in 113 deaths. Stimulants remain a concern, too, as cocaine was involved in 236 deaths in Fort Lauderdale.
Alcohol and marijuana are widely abused substances across the U.S., including in Broward County, where Parkland is located. Heroin also is the most easily accessible illicit drug in the country. One reason for its widespread availability is because of an increase in heroin trafficking. In recent years, heroin use has become more deadly because of the rise of fentanyl and fentanyl analogs. The potent synthetic opioid is mixed in with heroin to boost the drug’s potency, but the combination often leads to overdose.
Recreational use of prescription drugs is also a problem. Some of these include prescription opioids, such as oxycodone and hydrocodone, and depressants like benzodiazepines. Cocaine and other stimulants are also consumed among South Florida’s drug-using population.
Other drugs that medical examiners found among the deceased in 2018 include:
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Florida has long had a reputation for being a popular destination for people who are looking to recover from addiction. The warm weather, ocean breezes, and lush green landscape filled with tropical flowers and palm trees make it an ideal place to start a new life that begins with drug rehab.
The Sunshine State offers just the new beginning that so many seek, especially those who want to put some distance between them and any bad influences that threaten to derail their chances at recovery.
Many people who make their way down to Florida are admitted into a treatment center that employs the Florida Model, which is a stepped approach to treatment that provides counseling and a chance to live in a sober home that focuses on overcoming substance abuse.
However, Florida has also been a place of opportunity for those looking to profit off one of the nation’s most vulnerable populations. At one time, it was center stage for a “pill mill” scandal that landed it in the news and under scrutiny. It was discovered that some Florida-based clinics were acting exploitatively and giving out narcotics randomly, even to people from other states, who buy the pills in Florida so they could sell them back home.
These clinics have been identified as one reason why opioid addiction became a deadly epidemic, which has been reported to have started in the 1990s and 2000s. Florida lawmakers have cracked down on these clinics, outlawing them. In recent years, a statewide task force has been created to study opioid drug abuse in the state and give recommendations on how to best combat the epidemic.
Addiction is a severe substance use disorder that affects the brain’s reward center. The disease is officially diagnosed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), and if you or someone you know struggles with addiction, you must get help for it as soon as possible or the risk that it will get worse increases.
Addiction is also a complex condition that is caused by various underlying issues, some of which must be diagnosed by a doctor or mental health professional before a person can receive treatment for them. One can recover from addiction, but it will take time, effort, and the right kind of care. The most effective approach involves receiving professional treatment at a facility that is accredited and staffed with professionals who can guide recovering individuals to long-term sobriety.
A multifaceted approach is often used because it can address all needs of an individual, ensuring they have the best chance of ending active addiction. Recovery programs that focus on getting to the root of substance abuse will likely reveal unresolved issues and mental health conditions that have been barriers to ending substance abuse.
Treatment must be tailored to a person’s needs, as there is no one treatment plan that addresses everyone’s needs and preferences the same. The National Institute on Drug Abuse recommends that an individual remains in a treatment program for at least 90 days to increase their recovery outcome.
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
“Parkland, FL Crime Rates.”NeighborhoodScout. Retrieved from https://www.neighborhoodscout.com/fl/parkland/crime
Wordsmith, Lily, et al. “The 20 Richest Cities in Florida.”Money Inc, 16 Feb. 2020. Retrieved from https://moneyinc.com/richest-cities-florida/
Segal, D. (2017, December 27). City of Addict Entrepreneurs. Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2017/12/27/business/new-drug-rehabs.html
Spencer, T. (2019, July 20). Florida 'pill mills' were 'gas on the fire' of opioid crisis. Retrieved from https://apnews.com/0ced46b203864d8fa6b8fda6bd97b60e
Fanning, Timothy. “Opioid Task Force Nears Completion of Strategy Recommendations.”Tribune, Sarasota Herald-Tribune, 24 Feb. 2020. Retrieved from https://www.heraldtribune.com/news/20200224/opioid-task-force-nears-completion-of-strategy-recommendations
Drug addiction (substance use disorder). (2017, October 26). Retrieved from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/drug-addiction/symptoms-causes/syc-20365112
National Institute on Drug Abuse, (January, 2018). Principles of Drug Addiction Treatment: A Research-Based Guide (Third Edition). National Institute on Drug Abuse. Retrieved August, 2018 from https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/principles-drug-addiction-treatment-research-based-guide-third-edition/frequently-asked-questions/how-long-does-drug-addiction-treatment