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Substance Abuse Treatment and Recovery in Florida

As our population continues to grow, people are battling substance abuse at a much higher rate. Addiction treatment in the state of Florida is essential. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) estimates that the opioid epidemic claims 128 lives each day due to overdose. Tens of thousands of individuals are also causing substantial economic damage due to drug use. 

Drug rehab in the state has become the solution for tens of thousands of substance users in the country each year. Florida is regarded as the recovery capital of the United States. Treatment in the state is considered the model for substance abuse in the nation. 

Florida has a recovery community, and those seeking treatment from out-of-state find it to be the best option. The tropical scenery and warmth allow individuals that are seeking help to be comfortable. Clients report feeling like they’re on vacation instead of in drug rehab. 

Continue reading to learn about substance use and drug rehab in Florida. 

Florida Drug Rehab Statistics

There are thousands of miles of shoreline on the east and west coast of Florida, and many of these receive international shipments. Drug availability from the north to the south, east, and west are significant. The opioid epidemic continues to affect the state, and Florida witnessed a substantial increase in overdose deaths. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) estimates there were as many as 4,279 opioid overdose deaths, many of those containing the potent drug fentanyl. 

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Most Commonly Abused Substances in Florida

The most common drugs available in Florida are smuggled in by sea. Drugs are typically transported on large freight ships in hidden compartments. In some cases, large ships will offload the illicit drugs onto smaller vessels at sea. By doing so, it is less conspicuous when it enters Florida waters. The drugs are then trafficked by criminal organizations and distributed by street gangs. The most common drugs that are abused in Florida include:

  • Cocaine
  • Heroin
  • MDMA
  • Prescription opioids
  • Meth
  • Fentanyl
  • Marijuana
  • Other synthetic opioids

Florida’s Drug Rehab History and Rankings

Florida’s history when it comes to drug rehab and addiction goes back to the 1970s and 1980s. At that time, there was a substantial rise in drug abuse throughout the country, and what followed was a dire need for proper treatment. In response to these demands, former substance abusers opened up treatment facilities throughout Florida. 

A Florida beach

Clients came to the state from all over the country and began their addiction treatment process. Drug rehabs throughout the state boast higher levels of medical and clinical care and became less hands-on and structured as clients navigate the program. The model in Florida allows clients to access the necessary standards of care as they progress through recovery. 

Florida’s treatment model isn’t free of scrutiny, however, and during the “pill mill” scandal in the 2000s, many clinics opened shop and sold opioid pain pills with little oversight. By 2010, clinics were prevalent statewide and saw people from all over the United States coming to buy and resell pills. The legislation was eventually passed to crack down on these clinics and shut down places that violated the newly implemented laws. 

Quick Treatment Facts

Effective addiction treatment must be tailored to individuals’ needs to work. Those who go through a cookie-cutter process are less likely to succeed and more likely to relapse. Drug rehab must also address various needs, such as social, physical, or psychological issues. The process must last long enough to treat the needs discussed above. The ideal minimum length of treatment is 90 days.


Drug Enforcement Administration. (2020, January 30). DEA releases 2019 National Drug Threat Assessment. Retrieved from

Florida Health. (2018). Patterns and Trends of the Opioid Epidemic in Florida 2018. Retrieved from

National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2018, January). Principles of Effective Treatment. Retrieved from

National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2019, May 22). Florida Opioid Summary. Retrieved from

National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2020, February 20). Opioid Overdose Crisis. Retrieved from

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