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, the Sunshine State 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.
Most Abused Substances
Florida sees increased addiction rates due to all the 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 for Florida
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. Fatalities from alcohol poisoning are higher in Florida than anywhere else.
2. Drug Trafficking: This 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.
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.
Cocaine death surge with the rise of drug smuggling in South Florida. (November 17, 2017). Sun-Sentinel.com.