Sunny Pompano Beach, Florida, is situated just north of Fort Lauderdale on the Atlantic Ocean and within Broward County. Southern Florida, and Broward County, in particular, is struggling with high rates of substance abuse.
The area is experiencing an upswing in opioid overdose death rates. This is being influenced by the increasing presence of fentanyl.
Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid drug that is marketed as a powerful prescription painkiller. It is being manufactured illicitly in underground laboratories and used to stretch batches of heroin. It is also being laced into counterfeit prescription pills. There were 180 fentanyl-related overdose deaths in Broward County in 2016, a spike from only 80 overdose fatalities just two years prior in 2014.
Cocaine is also making a comeback in Southern Florida. There were 265 cocaine-involved overdose deaths in Broward County in 2016, doubling the cocaine overdose death rate from the previous year.
Another concern is the fact that around two-thirds of all drug-related overdose deaths in Broward and Palm Beach counties in 2016 involved at least two different drugs. A combination of multiple drugs is often a deadly mixture.
Another major drug of concern in Pompano Beach and Broward County is heroin. About 85 percent of opioid overdoses treated in Broward County emergency rooms in 2017 involved the illegal opiate drug.
Synthetic cathinones (bath salts), benzodiazepines, alcohol, and marijuana are all additional drugs of abuse in Broward County, according to the United Way of Broward County Commission on Substance Abuse’s 2016 report. Southern Florida is known for being a hot spot for novel and new psychoactive substances. In recent years, bath salts and drugs like flakka have been prevalent in the region. This trend seems to be waning somewhat, although these drugs are still concerning in the region.
Around a third of all addiction treatment admissions cited alcohol as the primary drug of abuse in Broward County in 2015, making it the No. 1 drug reported for adults. In teenagers under age 18, the primary drug of abuse in 2015, indicated by addiction treatment admissions, was marijuana; 93 percent cited it as the primary drug of abuse.
In Pompano Beach, drug abuse and addiction treatment is offered on a regional level. Services within Broward County are provided by community-based providers overseen by state, regional, and local entities.
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One of the biggest ways federal, state, and local agencies manage drug abuse issues within a community is to address the root cause — to reduce such abuse or prevent it from happening in the first place. This is often accomplished with educational campaigns and outreach programs.
Prevention models in Florida are funded through grant monies and include programs such as the Florida Partnership for Success (PFS) and the Prevention Partnership Grant (PPG). PFS helps to fund local outreach and educational programs within communities like Pompano Beach. PPG is directed at students and runs as a prevention program within local schools. Prevention programs target underage drinking, prescription opioid diversion and abuse, and illicit drug abuse, aiming to educate the public on the hazards of these behaviors.
Florida is suffering from a public health crisis related to opioid drug abuse and a high rate of overdose deaths that is greater than the national average. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) reports that 14.4 people per every 100,000 died from an opioid overdose in Florida in 2016, which was more than the national average of 13.3 people per every 100,000. As a result, many prevention and outreach measures target the opioid epidemic. The Opioid State Targeted Response Project serves to increase treatment measures, expand prevention measures, and provide better crisis intervention services to residents of Florida.
Other prevention measures in Florida and Pompano Beach include efforts to minimize prescription drug diversion. The Electronic-Florida Online Reporting of Controlled Substances Evaluation Program (E-FORCSE) is Florida’s Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP), which records prescriptions of potentially hazardous and commonly diverted drugs. This can help providers to recognize potential patterns of misuse and reduce diversion tactics.
The Controlled Substances Bill was passed in Florida to expand E-FORCSE and mandatory reporting guidelines for prescribers. It also requires prescribers to commit to continuing education involving the prescription of controlled substances and imposes limits on the prescriptions of these drugs. The Broward Sheriff’s Office runs Operation Medicine Cabinet, which provides residents of Pompano Beach and neighboring communities with opportunities to safely dispose of unused medications.
Other measures aim to reduce overdose fatalities. The Good Samaritan Act and standing order regarding naloxone both focus on this. The Good Samaritan Act encourages people to report potential overdoses by offering criminal immunity on drug-related charges for doing so. It also offers immunity for those attempting to reverse an overdose in good faith. Naloxone (Narcan) is typically a prescription-only opioid antagonist drug that is used to reverse an opioid overdose. In Florida, residents can obtain it without a prescription from a local pharmacy due to the standing order.
Florida drug abuse and addiction treatment services are provided regionally and overseen by the statewide authority, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health (SAMH) Program, under the Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF) through the regional managing entity (ME). For Pompano Beach and Broward County, the ME is the Broward Behavioral Health Coalition (BBHC).
Private drug abuse and addiction treatment providers are other options for care in Pompano Beach. They often can offer more immediate admission and a greater range of treatment options and services. The Behavioral Health Treatment Services Locator, operated by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), can help residents find local treatment options based on location, services offered, and type of care requested. The following public treatment services are all provided by a network of community-based providers managed by BBHC:
For immediate help and aid finding services when in crisis, Pompano Beach residents can contact 2-1-1 Broward at any time of day or night. They will be connected with a trained staff member with local knowledge.
Local public healthcare services and resources can be found via the Florida Department of Health in Broward County. Additional local treatment resources can be found in the Broward Connections Guidebook. Another local resource for residents seeking care is provided through the United Way of Broward County.
In Florida, residents can obtain help for loved ones who are a danger to themselves or others through involuntary commitment under the Marchman Act. This gives family members a resource to get help for those who may be unable to help themselves.
Broward County has a thriving drug court system. Through the grant-funded Diversionary Treatment Program (DTP) and the Pretrial Intervention Program, residents can enter a drug abuse and addiction treatment programs instead of facing initial or additional jail time for nonviolent and drug-related offenses.
Ongoing recovery support is vital for sustained abstinence. Often, individuals can benefit from moving into a transitional living arrangement or sober living environment after completing a treatment program and before returning back to everyday life. These homes can provide the time and space needed to ensure new habits are solidified, and episodes of relapse are minimized. The Florida Association of Recovery Residences (FARR) can provide information on local sober living homes and transitional services in Florida.
Other recovery support resources include local peer-support groups and 12-step programs, such as the Gold Coast Area of Narcotics Anonymous (NA) and the Broward County Intergroup Alcoholics Anonymous (AA).
Both of these groups offer local meetings for individuals in recovery who have a desire to remain abstinent from mind-altering substances. There are many resources for those in Pompano Beach, Broward County, and the state of Florida. Thanks to these local resources, residents can find treatment and receive ongoing support to sustain recovery.
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