Many people in communities across the United States are battling substance abuse and addiction themselves or know someone who is. The need for substance abuse treatment is clear, as recent data indicate. According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, an estimated 21.2 million people aged 12 or older needed substance use treatment in the past year in 2018. While not everyone will receive the services they need to overcome their substance use disorders, some will enroll in a rehab program and start their path to recovery.
Pembroke Pines, a city in southern Broward County, Florida, is located between two major cities — Fort Lauderdale to the north and Miami to the south — and both of these urban hubs are near major ports that are used to smuggle drugs into the region.
Pembroke Pines has seen the effects of addiction and drug abuse seep into its communities, along with the rest of the state. The area’s high access to certain illicit substances makes drug rehab essential for people to overcome substance abuse.
Broward County has witnessed a spike in opioid overdose cases since fentanyl started turning up increasingly in other drugs, such as heroin, cocaine, and even methamphetamine. According to WLRN, the county has seen heroin overdose deaths reach record levels in recent years. In 2017, the drug was linked to 85 percent of the 1,642 overdoses treated in hospital emergency rooms in the county.
Fentanyl, an opioid that is 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine, can kill people with even the smallest dose. In Fort Lauderdale, a reported 110 people died of heroin-related overdoses in 2018. Also, fentanyl was linked to 287 deaths in the county’s largest city.
The Center for Applied Research on Substance Use and Health Disparities at Nova Southeastern University has reported that cocaine and benzodiazepine overdose rates have gone up, largely because the substances are mixed with opioids like fentanyl.
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Alcohol and marijuana are among the commonly abused substances across the U.S., as they are easily accessible. Many people enter treatment for problematic alcohol use. In Broward County, up to 87 percent of adolescents seek professional help for marijuana use.
Heroin comes after marijuana, as it is cheap and also easy to get on the recreational drug scene. Other drugs of abuse include prescription opioids, benzodiazepines, cocaine, synthetic marijuana (fake weed), and synthetic cathinones.
Florida has long been viewed as a place that is conducive to recovery from substance abuse. The state has reputable treatment centers that offer various programs and services that address addiction at its core and help people focus on regaining sobriety as they rebuild their lives.
State lawmakers have shut down clinics that dealt in unethical practices during the “pill mill” scandal of the early 2000s that contributed to excessive opioid use in the state and abroad. New laws are also in place to address the opioid crisis.
Locally, the United Way of Broward County Commission on Substance Abuse works to educate communities about the hazards and consequences of drug abuse.
The coalition offers education and resources to families and individuals with the aim to minimize substance abuse in the region.
Addiction is a complex disease of the brain that can progressively worsen if left untreated. The medical view is that while the disease isn’t curable, it is highly treatable with the right combination of programs and services.
The path to recovery looks different depending on who is receiving the treatment, so the most effective approaches take the individual’s needs into account and provide them with strategies and tools to help them understand their addiction and how to avoid a relapse.
Accredited treatment centers usually conduct an assessment of the client to determine the best placement along the continuum of care. Treatment specialists also work with clients to place them in the right setting that will help them make a new start.
2018 National Survey on Drug Use and Health. PDF file. from https://www.samhsa.gov/data/sites/default/files/cbhsq-reports/NSDUHNationalFindingsReport2018/NSDUHNationalFindingsReport2018.pdf
WLRN. (2018, August 30) Heroin Overdoses In Broward Remain At Record Levels. Switalski, C. Retrieved from https://www.wlrn.org/post/heroin-overdoses-broward-remain-record-levels#stream/0
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
United Way of Broward County. United Way of Broward County Commission on Substance Abuse Drug Abuse Trends In Broward County, Florida. Annual Report: June 2017. Retrieve from https://www.unitedwaybroward.org/sites/default/files/images/Commission%20on%20Behavioral%20Health%20%26%20Drug%20Prevention/Prevention%20Resource%20Center/June-2017-Broward-Substance-Abuse-Trends-Report.pdf
United Way of Broward. (2017, June). Drug Abuse Trends In Broward County, Florida. Retrieved from http://www.drugfreebroward.org/
Drug addiction (substance use disorder). (2017, October 26). Retrieved from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/drug-addiction/symptoms-causes/syc-20365112
American Society of Addiction Medicine. (2015, May 13) ASAM Continuum. Knowledge Base. What are the ASAM Levels of Care? Retrieved from https://www.asamcontinuum.org/knowledgebase/what-are-the-asam-levels-of-care/