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Substance Abuse Treatment and Recovery in Florida

Florida is commonly known as the recovery capital of the United States. As the opioid epidemic rages on, addiction rates are the highest that they have been in awhile. As a matter of fact, around 128 people per day overdose and die due to opioid addiction and abuse alone. These baffling and alarmingly high numbers are enough to send those who struggles with addiction (and their loved ones) into a panic, desperately searching for a possible solution.

Florida’s drug treatment centers and methods are well-known across the nation, and thousands of addicts and victims of addiction seek treatment in Florida specifically. As the recovery capital of the United States, Florida serves as a model for what drug treatment should be like across the United States.

In addition to gorgeous beaches and equally gorgeous weather, Florida offers efficient, quick, and easy ways to help treat your addiction. Florida is home to a huge variety of treatment centers, halfway houses, and 12-step programs that are all dedicated to treating your unique case of substance abuse. With many up-to-date treatment options, Florida offers anyone struggling with addiction a treatment plan custom-made to best treat you as an individual.

Substance Abuse Stats in Florida

As mentioned previously, Florida is home to a large number of addicts and alcoholics. Traveling both domestically and internationally, many victims of addiction find that seeking treatment in Florida is much easier and effective than you may think.

In the past 10 years, there has been a noticeable and steady rise in general substance abuse statistics. Unfortunately, Florida itself is above the national average for deaths caused by substance misuse and abuse. In 2016, drug-related deaths were the leading number of deaths, accounting for around 12,000 deaths that year, and the year before (2015), opioid overdose deaths grew by an astonishing 35 percent.

On the topic of opioids, Florida has equally staggering numbers. The term “opioids” refers to the broad branch of drugs, both illicit and prescription painkillers, including drugs like heroin and fentanyl. Opioids are naturally addictive, and chronic use and abuse of opioids can lead to seriously dangerous side effects.

Heroin, an opioid, itself has seen an increase in numbers as a result of the epidemic. In 2015, the year of the increased opioid overdose deaths, heroin accounted for 952 of all overdose deaths (roughly a 31 percent increase from the year before). Another dangerous, newer opioid is fentanyl. Fentanyl is considered significantly stronger than heroin and even a hundred times stronger than morphine and has potent pain-reducing capabilities. Consequently, fentanyl can be very dangerous and accounted for a painfully large 1,390 deaths in 2015.

However, as time goes on, these different challenges and dangers can teach addiction treatment experts and professionals how to treat future cases. Florida, being the national leader in addiction treatment, has even created its own model of addiction treatment, aptly named “The Florida Model.” The Florida Model, since its creation, has been implemented into many different curriculums throughout the nation.

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The Florida Model

When someone says the word “Florida,” what’s the first thing that pops into your head? Palm trees, beaches, and sunshine, right?

In the 1970s and 1980s, people felt the same way. Florida was a haven, a getaway, an American dream.

Unfortunately, with many people flocking to Florida to have fun, the term “fun” started to include the use of alcohol and drugs. As a result, addiction rates began to climb, and those that partook in treatment in Florida at the time began to open up their own treatment centers.

This sparked the idea for the Florida Model. If Florida was a hot destination for vacationers, why not implement the idea of “stereotypical Florida” into treatment? Many new treatment centers began to look at the process of treatment in a different light. Offering more of a campus-like treatment center, the Florida Model provides patients with an atmosphere that puts comfort and happiness at the top of its priorities as opposed to the industrial, clinical setting of other centers.

The Florida Model proposes a unique path to sobriety, untraveled before. Programs following the Florida Model are “stepped,” first starting patients out in medically intensive programs, then reducing intensity over time depending on the status of the patient during treatment. This, coupled with the relative ease and comfort of the Florida Model, makes it one of the most widely used in the country.

The Continuum of Care

The Florida Model’s full continuum of care includes each and every level of addiction treatment. Starting with the level of highest medical and clinical care, a patient will work their way down the continuum to a more laid-back, relaxed treatment. By engaging in this continuum, the patient will receive dynamic treatment throughout all of recovery. For example, someone who just finished detox will require much more medical attention and intervention than someone participating in a residential treatment program.

The full continuum of care is made up of several smaller steps. Starting with the highest level of care, the continuum can look somewhat like the following: 

  • Detox
  • Inpatient or Residential
  • Partial Hospitalization
  • Intensive Outpatient
  • Outpatient
  • Maintenance Programs (Relapse Prevention, 12-Step Programs, or Alumni Services)

When used with the various therapy methods and services, these different levels of care can be extremely effective in treating an addiction. The therapy in conjunction with the Florida Model results in patients being provided the proper support and resources they need to become and remain sober. 

The point of addiction treatment is to reprogram a patient’s brain and promote a healthier and happier way to live. In the most severe cases of addiction, like lifelong cases, it may be harder to achieve and maintain sobriety. Fortunately, there are many additional services that patients are exposed to while they are in treatment that may give them the extra push they need to achieve sobriety. Some of the additional services offered include:

  • Individual Counselling
  • Group Counselling
  • Customized Individual Treatment Plans
  • Medication Management
  • Case and Care Management
  • Aftercare Recovery Support Services
  • 12-Step Programs
  • Access to Peer Support

The above additional services are crucial in making sure that your road to successful treatment is a smooth one. While each and every addiction center operates differently, the variety of available support in Florida treatment centers is extremely diverse and thus extremely effective. 

A Florida beach

Paying for Treatment

Seeking addiction treatment can get pretty costly. Putting a set price on sobriety is difficult, as everyone is entitled to live an addiction-free life. However, the most pristine and high-quality treatment centers have many different payment options, each specifically tailored to the addict. 

For the most part, private health insurance companies cover a percentage (or even the majority) of the cost of addiction treatment.

The combined cost of treatment includes all medication, therapy, accommodation, and any other resources that a patient may need while they engage in treatment. Most of the time, there are few (if any) out-of-pocket costs associated with drug treatment.

This, of course, depends on your current insurance policy. Thankfully, most private health insurance companies specifically outline what they do and do not cover.

For all you know, you or someone you know who struggles with addiction may already be covered by their insurance.

On the other hand, not everyone has access to private insurance, and the relatively pricey cost of treatment may serve as a deterrent, making addicts avoid seeking treatment. There is hope, however, and it is much easier than you think. Almost all addiction treatment centers offer payment in the form of private pay options. Private pay allows for a personal connection to be formed with the facility, and a payment plan will be devised between the two parties to completely cover the cost of the treatment program. As a matter of fact, many people partake in payment plans, paying in small increments monthly until the cost is paid off.


NIDA. (2020, February 20). Opioid Overdose Crisis. Retrieved from from

Silvestrini, E. (2014, August 31). Florida heals from pill mill epidemic. Retrieved April 05, 2018, from

The Executive Office of the President of the United States. (2015, January 1). Florida Drug Control Update. Retrieved April 5, 2018, from

ASAM. (2015, May 13) What are the ASAM Levels of Care? Retrieved from

The Medical Examiners Commission. (2017, November). Drugs Identified in Deceased Persons by Florida Medical Examiners. Retrieved April 5, 2018, from

National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2018, March 06). Opioid Overdose Crisis. Retrieved April 06, 2018, from

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