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Drug Trafficking and Addiction in Florida

jrtempleton - August 31, 2018

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Florida has been known for decades as one of the centers of the drug trade. Because of its location and 8,000 miles of coastline, Florida is appealing for drug traffickers to smuggle drugs into the United States. This creates the perfect backdrop for more substance abuse problems than many other places in the United States.

Most Heavily Abused Substances in Florida

Florida sees increased addiction rates due to all the drug trafficking in the state. Some of the most abused drugs here include alcohol and marijuana, followed closely by opioids and cocaine. Because these drugs are so readily available, users in Florida are highly addicted. The rate of drug-induced death is higher than the national average. Specifically, cocaine-related fatalities rose for four years in a row by 2016.

Florida has also been hit hard by the opioid addiction crisis much like the rest of the country, and the state has seen a resurgence of methamphetamine use.

Unique Factors That Contribute to Florida’s Drug Use Statistics

1. Beach Destinations

Florida is known for its spring break destinations where college kids come to party and let off some steam. Oftentimes, this includes drug and alcohol use. Plus, local college kids find themselves living this lifestyle year-round and many Florida colleges are known as party schools. Although these factors don’t necessarily equate to inflated Florida drug trafficking statistics, fatalities from alcohol poisoning are higher in Florida than anywhere else.

2. Drug Trafficking

Drug trafficking in Florida has been an ongoing challenge for Florida since the 1980s when it was the center of the cocaine boom. Florida is the major entry point for cartels from Colombia, Venezuela and Mexico, which means the drug trade has found its way into Florida’s economy.

3. Crime

Florida suffers from a high crime rate because of the drug trade. Street gangs handle the retail operations of the trade and then find themselves in violent turf wars as each tries to expands its operations.

4. Meth Comeback

Meth is seeing a resurgence in Florida over recent years. It is no longer made in kitchens, but in major labs in Mexico and then smuggled in to the state where it is readily available. After the government restricted the sale of over-the-counter medications used in the production of meth, it’s popularity waned until recently with the emergence of giant labs run by the cartels.

5. Pill Mills

In the 2010s, unethical doctors flocked to Florida to supply the many people addicted to painkillers. They set up clinics (called pill mills) and sold opioids to anyone who paid.

Drug Trafficking Issues for Floridians

Florida faces unique issues in the battle against substance abuse because of its location and the drug trade. This high level of addiction has created even more problems that are specific to only Florida.

  • Many employers are finding it hard to hire drug-free workers.
  • Opioid and heroin overdoses are so common that naloxone is available over-the-counter.
  • Florida offers many needle exchanges for intravenous drug users. This means users can shoot up in a safe environment and helps to combat the spread of HIV/AIDS and hepatitis.
  • They are expanding drug courts, which allows users to avoid the regular criminal justice system if they meet their treatment goals and stay on track.

Find Treatment in Florida at Footprints Beachside Recovery

If you or your loved one has been affected by the drug trade in Florida and has a substance abuse addiction of any kind, don’t hesitate to reach out for help. At Footprints Beachside Recovery, there are benefits to staying at a local treatment facility because your support network is close by. Plus, you can make an immediate decision to get help and go somewhere close to home. Contact us today to get started, or learn more about our expert treatment staff.


Cocaine death surge with the rise of drug smuggling in South Florida. (November 17, 2017). Sun-Sentinel.com.

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