As addiction and overdose rates continue to plague the United States, the opioid epidemic receives most of the focus from media and lawmakers. However, alcohol remains one of the most common substances of abuse and leads to the deaths of 88,000 people each year in the country. Alcohol is often mixed with other drugs either by accident or to enhance the recreational effects. In Florida, addiction is a major public health concern, and alcohol makes up a significant part of the substance abuse problem in the state. Learn more about alcohol rehab in Florida and the need for access to quality care.
Alcohol is one of the most commonly used psychoactive substances in the United States. Drinking is pervasive and accepted in American culture to the point that most people have drunk alcohol at least once. According to the 2018 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, more than 86 percent of adult Americans have drunk alcohol at least once in their lives. However, the problem with alcohol often comes with binge drinking. In 2018, more than 26 percent of adults said they binge drank in the last month.
In Florida, alcohol was found to be present in 2,463 deaths in 2018, and it was likely the primary cause of death in 442 cases. Alcohol was the most common recreational substance found by medical examiners in 2018. In many cases, it was found alongside other substances.
Alcohol can become much more dangerous when mixed with other substances, especially other central nervous system depressants. Because alcohol is often present in settings where people are using other recreational drugs, mixing substances is common in Florida. For instance, the prescription benzodiazepine called alprazolam can be abused for recreational purposes.
The drug was found in 816 deaths in Florida in 2018, but 758 of those cases also involved other substances like alcohol.
Alcohol is also dangerous to mix with opioids. Like depressants, opioids can be potentiated with alcohol, which means their effects are intensified. This can quickly lead to respiratory depression and oxygen deprivation.
Stimulants like cocaine can also be dangerous when mixed with alcohol for different reasons.
Alcohol can counteract some of the effects of stimulants and vise versa. This may lead to the user feeling like they can handle higher doses, leading to overdose.
Florida is a popular destination for drug and alcohol rehab in the United States. Its temperate weather, and year-round sunshine prompted treatment professionals to open up drug and alcohol rehab centers in the state for decades. Florida even pioneered an approach to treatment called the Florida model, which introduced the idea of stepped treatment, supplemented by sober-living housing.
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Alcoholism is a form of addiction that is diagnosed as a substance use disorder. Addiction is a chronic disease that can get worse over time if it’s ignored. When you do seek treatment, it should be personalized to your individual needs. Since alcoholism can come with other problems like underlying mental health issues or medical complications, treatment should address more than just substance use. Instead, effective treatment takes a multidisciplinary approach.
American Psychiatric Association. (2017, January). What Is Addiction? Retrieved from https://www.psychiatry.org/patients-families/addiction/what-is-addiction
CDC. (2019, December 30). Drinking too much alcohol can harm your health. Learn the facts. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/alcohol/fact-sheets/alcohol-use.htm
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, July). Treatment and Recovery. Retrieved from https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugs-brains-behavior-science-addiction/treatment-recovery
National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. (2020, February 18). Alcohol Facts and Statistics. Retrieved from https://www.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/brochures-and-fact-sheets/alcohol-facts-and-statistics