It is estimated that more than half a million people are addicted to alcohol or drugs in the state of Florida. Florida has the third-highest total population of any state in the union; it is home to more people than even New York State. However, there are a variety of deeper reasons that Florida is considered in crisis due to substance abuse and addiction. Florida ranked fifth in the U.S. from 2012 to 2018 in violent crimes because of drug-related activities and Florida is one of the worst states for alcohol and drug-related deaths on the roadways.
Many experts would pinpoint Florida as the epicenter of the “pill mill” phenomenon of the last 25 years. “Pill mills” are drug selling enterprises that masquerade as legitimate medical practices in order to make money by writing bogus and dangerous prescriptions to addicts. Florida was also one of the states most targeted by pill mills and medical practitioners with low standards for prescribing strong medications. Furthermore, as one of the premier destinations for spring breakers and vacationers from all over the world, Florida’s economy benefits from tourism from outside the state. However, after the parties stop and the out-of-towners go home, many Floridians are left to deal with substance abuse and the devastating effects of the disease of addiction. There are currently great drug treatment options in the state of Florida. According to FloridaHealth.gov, in May of 2017 Governor Rick Scott declared the ongoing substance abuse crisis a state emergency and immediately released $27 million for addiction education, grants, and treatment.
As serious as the situation is, Florida is home to thousands of good people who work hard to save lives and change lives for the better. For people who are ready for treatment, the first step is often a detoxification process that is closely monitored by trained medical staff. Great facilities are located throughout the state, and there are options for insured people, partially insured patients, sliding scale payment plans, as well as various avenues for logistic and financial support for those who need help. The Florida Alcohol and Drug Abuse Association can answer many questions you might have, and they have a large network of helpful programs and phone numbers.
Expertise is essential in the field of addiction, as detoxification is different for every individual and evaluations are made to assess the medications that will most aide the patient. Detox is a safe and comfortable environment in which to cleanse the body of all adulterants. Detox can be stressful, but many sober people can attest to the immense difficulty of detoxing alone, sometimes called going “cold turkey” for the infamous goosebumps on the bodies of people having hot and cold spells. Medication assisted treatment is often part of a detoxification process, depending on the evaluation of medical personnel. Once a patient completes the process of physically ridding the body of addictive chemicals, the process of staying sober can begin, and that is an incredibly rewarding path.