The opioid crisis in Florida is a public health crisis involving the widespread misuse and abuse of prescription and non-prescription opioid drugs. Opioids are a class of drugs that include prescription painkillers such as oxycodone, hydrocodone, and fentanyl, as well as illegal drugs like heroin. At the best drug rehab in Florida, Florida Springs Wellness and Recovery Center in Panama City, we face this epidemic head on by treating patients at our dual accredited inpatient program. Despite all that people do to treat patients suffering from addiction in Florida, things on the ground have only deteriorated in the last several years.
One contributing factor we see at the best drug and alcohol rehab in Florida has been the high number of prescriptions for opioid painkillers written by doctors in the state. Florida has been identified as a “pill mill” state, meaning that it has a higher-than-average number of doctors and clinics that prescribe large amounts of opioid painkillers to patients, often without proper medical justification. This has contributed to the availability of prescription opioids on the black market, where they can be sold and distributed illicitly.
In Florida, the opioid crisis has been fueled by a number of other factors, including the illicit sale and distribution of these drugs, and the increasing prevalence of synthetic opioids like fentanyl. In the last several decades, the opioid addiction crisis in Florida was mainly driven by heroin on the street, and oxycodone from doctors and those illicit pill mills. Heroin and oxycodone still drive the addiction crisis in Florida today, but with the key addition of Fentanyl.
Fentanyl is a powerful synthetic opioid that is 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine. It is often mixed with other drugs, including cocaine and heroin, and can be extremely dangerous when used recreationally. It must be noted that in the 1990s and 2000s there was illicit use of prescription fentanyl, but today our streets are flooded with fentanyl from dubious sources, and street drug dealers do little to keep users safe. This is one of many reasons that I want less criminalization of addictive substance abuse, and more focus on treatment. The best drug rehabs in Florida and elsewhere can successfully help people quit, and so can 12 step programs like AA and NA, but it is valuable for the conversation to shift towards treatment from punishment.
From Pill Mills to Street Heroin and Fentanyl
The opioid crisis in Florida has had significant consequences, including a high number of overdose deaths and an increase in the number of people suffering from opioid addiction. In response to the crisis, the state has implemented several measures to try to address the problem, including prescribing guidelines for doctors, expanding access to addiction treatment and overdose prevention medications, and cracking down on illicit drug distribution. The institution of new prescription guidelines has decreased the availability of illicit oxycodone, but that crackdown has sent more and more addicts to the streets to buy heroin, which is now usually laced with fentanyl and other deadly fentanyl derivatives.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), fentanyl was involved in more than 31,000 overdose deaths in the United States in 2019. This accounted for nearly two-thirds of all overdose deaths involving synthetic opioids that year. The number of deaths involving fentanyl has been increasing in recent years, due in part to the rise of illicitly manufactured fentanyl and other synthetic opioids. That number has dramatically increased during the Covid-19 pandemic, with overdose death numbers more than doubling. As we have written about on the Florida Springs Blog, for the last few years we had a a flu pandemic alongside a drug addiction epidemic, and the mental health strains of one contributed to the other. Please visit our site today for more information on the ongoing addiction and mental health epidemic.
Florida Springs is the best drug and alcohol rehab and treatment facility in Florida, located in the Florida Panhandle in Panama City, and we can help you or your family member today. Please call us or contact us for more information.
By T.A. Cannon