Substance abuse has been running rampant around the United States, but it is sunny South Florida that has been hit particularly hard. The crisis has moved to a level that has made it all the way to the President of the United States who, in turn, issued a state of emergency regarding the opioid crisis. Once a topic of this magnitude reaches this level, it speaks volumes about what the nation is facing. There are initial estimates that describe more than 59,000 people falling victim to drug addiction in 2016. Unfortunately, there has not been much improvement in the matter. This public health crisis shows no signs of letting up and is affecting the rich and famous of our society.
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The most recent case of a celebrity being affected by this crisis is the popular rapper, Mac Miller, who died from an accidental overdose in his home in Los Angeles County on September 7th, 2018. Toxicology and autopsy reports named his cause of death as “mixed toxicity” finding cocaine, alcohol, and the powerful opioid fentanyl in his system. Drug addiction knows no boundaries, and no member of society is exempt from its long reach.
This problem has been no more evident than in Palm Beach County where the effects of drugs like cocaine and opioids are decimating its residents. The emergence of synthetic opioids like fentanyl has fueled this increase in overdose deaths. The problem with synthetic opioids is how cheap and easy they are to access by drug organizations, and they have been lacing fentanyl in everything from heroin to cocaine, and even prescription pills have become counterfeit. These drugs boost profits, but they also steal lives.
Florida has implemented some measures to combat the issue. The state is suing pharmacies like Walgreens and CVS for openly prescribing medication to patients who did not need it. Additionally, the former Governor, Rick Scott, declared a state of emergency as a means to battle the crisis. This led to a rise in access for citizens to accredited treatment centers throughout the state offering the help they need. While not one thing can solve this problem, a group effort can begin to make a dent.
Think you can’t afford treatment? Think again! Insurance can cover up to 100%!
Think you can’t afford treatment? Think again! Insurance can cover up to 100%!
Substance Abuse and the Opioid Crisis in Royal Palm Beach
There was a chilling report released by the Palm Beach Post highlighting that Palm Beach County is the epicenter of the deadly opioid crisis. In 2016, the state was hit by epic proportions of heroin-related overdose deaths showing the highest number being in Palm Beach County. This was the second year in a row such grim statistics were released. The crisis is driven by fentanyl which is said to be 50 to 100 times stronger than heroin. This drug begins its journey in China where they ship the precursor to Mexico. Once it arrives, drug cartels in the country manufacture the fentanyl in clandestine labs before shipping it up north into the United States.
This has resulted in drug users overdosing in their cars or bathrooms at restaurants which can be an eerie sight for an unsuspecting person. This crisis, despite the implementations, is a seemingly uphill battle with no end in sight. The official toll of deaths in 2016 for Palm Beach County saw 571 lives taken too soon which is a 110 percent increase from the year before. Dr. Michael Bell, the Palm Beach County medical examiner is on record saying, “we are the epicenter for certainly fentanyl, fentanyl analogs, and heroin overdoses.” Deaths from fentanyl increased by 97 percent.
Statewide 5,725 opioid-related deaths rocked the state which is a 35 percent increase from the year before. Those who are suffering from addiction are willing to risk their lives to get high, and drug dealers are taking advantage of this need and lacing drugs to make money. These are criminals that push poison, and the state of Florida has brought back a law from earlier in the state’s history that will punish drug dealers with the death penalty if someone they sell to overdoses and dies. It doesn’t seem like it’s enough. Fortunately, however, the ability to seek substance abuse treatment has been the one silver lining in this issue.
What Is Substance Abuse Treatment
Substance abuse treatment is a series of therapeutic treatments that begin at a very intensive level. As the process continues they continue to decrease in intensity until the client is released. Each step, however, plays as vital of a role as the last. Research has shown that the longer someone stays in treatment, the more effective sustaining long-term sobriety will be. This will also steer the client away from a potential relapse in the future.
The first and most intensive portion of treatment is medical detoxification. Detox is the process of eliminating all of the foreign substances from the body as the transition toward sobriety starts. This is one of the most essential portions in the continuum of care because of possible deadly withdrawal symptoms that some drugs can have. Benzodiazepines, alcohol, and barbiturates can be dangerous and require additional supervision. Detox is a 24-hour per day seven-day-a-week process that takes places at a medical facility. Depending on the substance abused, they could treat you with medication that alleviates the worst withdrawal symptoms.
The following levels of care could place you in either residential treatment or outpatient treatment. This is conditionally based, and the severity of the addiction will dictate the path the client takes. In certain cases, an outpatient treatment can be a better option because the client can continue with their careers or education. Some will require more intensive care to treat medical conditions or cope with a dual diagnosis that may have been given during the assessment. No matter where you end up, you will take part in therapies that help you understand the reasons your addiction continued to develop, and how to cope with cravings and triggers. These sessions will be customized for your unique needs. These include:
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- Group counseling
- Individual counseling
- Holistic therapy
- Case and care management
- Family therapy
- Medication management
- Aftercare recovery services
- 12-step programs
What to Look for in a Substance Abuse Treatment Program
There are portions of this process that are designed to challenge the client, and these tests can help them grow in ways never once thought of. While this time is overwhelming and the prospect of admitting to addiction can be hard, choosing the right treatment center should not be. You must be aware of what to look for when determining a significant decision such as entering treatment. This could be one of the critital choices someone can make, and it must be the right choice.
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration (SAMHSA) created a treatment center guideline that allows those in need to better understand what to look for when deciding on a treatment center. They suggest:
Ensure you receive treatment from someplace that wants to treat the substance abuse as effectively as possible by looking for accreditation. This means they have gone through extensive training to obtain licenses and certifications for this distinction
These are therapies that delve deeply into research and often have the highest success rates in recovery. Make sure the facility has a track record of success and implements these practices
Addiction is a family disease, and as such, it needs to be treated at all levels. This allows all parties involved to understand addiction better and help the family heal as a whole
Withdrawal is the main reason why users will slip back into addiction, and facilities that offer Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) and medication options during detox can help the soothe the transition
Completing treatment doesn’t automatically mean the client will be sober long-term. Addiction is a disease that lasts a lifetime, and it is important to find a facility that offers long-term care. This could be in the form of a 12-step program or alumni program
Start Your Journey to Recovery Today
Are you or a loved one currently lost in the cycle of addiction? Let our experts here at New Perspectives help you! We specialize in medication-assisted treatment, and we are confident that our evidence-based practices can help get you or your loved one healthy, happy, and most importantly sober!
By calling (561) 336-6893 now, you’ll be connected to a trained addiction specialist who can answer any questions you may have about our facility or program, verify your insurance, and get you started on the admissions process. Feel free to contact us online as well. We are standing by 24-7 ready to take your call and help you get the proper addiction treatment. We are here for you when you’re ready.
Pacenti, J., & Stucka, M. (2017, November 16). Why Palm Beach County is the 'epicenter' of the deadly opioid crisis. from https://www.palmbeachpost.com/lifestyles/health/why-palm-beach-county-the-epicenter-the-deadly-opioid-crisis/ljgIcYXGEGASNgsqH8essN/
Staff, T. (2018, November 05). Mac Miller's Cause of Death Was Fentanyl and Cocaine, Found in 'Praying' Position. from http://www.tmz.com/2018/11/05/mac-miller-cause-of-death-fentanyl-cocaine-toxicology-coroner/
Davis, J. H. (2017, October 26). Trump Declares Opioid Crisis a 'Health Emergency' but Requests No Funds. from https://www.nytimes.com/2017/10/26/us/politics/trump-opioid-crisis.html