Category: Drug Abuse Florida

florida opioid epidemic

An Overview of the Florida Opioid Epidemic

The effects of the opioid epidemic have been felt across the whole country. But he most statistically significant increases in opioid-related deaths have occurred in about half of US states. Florida is one of those states, with a 5% increase in such deaths since 2016.

What caused the Florida opioid epidemic, and what steps are being taken to contain it? Let’s take a closer look.

How Did the Opioid Epidemic Begin?

While you may feel like you’ve only heard about the opioid epidemic in the last few years, tracing the problem back to its origin will take you to the 1990s. It was in the early 90s that doctors began to prescribe opioids more regularly. By the mid-90s, most patients receiving opioid prescriptions were non-terminal.

At the time, doctors believed that opioids presented a minimal risk for addiction. Over time, evidence began to suggest otherwise.

Doctors began dialing back on these prescriptions. This, in part, led to an uptick in opioid-related deaths in the 2010s. People began turning to heroin and synthetic opioids when they could no longer access prescription pills.

What Has the Opioid Epidemic Looked Like in Florida?

As stated earlier, Florida has been hit particularly hard by the opioid epidemic. The rate of opioid-related deaths is higher in Florida than in the United States, on average. At the height of its epidemic, 14 Floridians were dying of opioid-related deaths every day.

These factors led then-Governor Rick Scott to declare the epidemic a public health emergency in the state in 2017. Shortly after, Scott’s attorney general Pam Bondi filed a lawsuit against opioid manufacturers, citing them as liable for the injuries and deaths caused by opioids in the state of Florida.

Pam Bondi has since been replaced by Attorney General Ashley Moody, who ran her campaign on addressing the opioid epidemic, and plans to carry on Bondi’s lawsuits. in 2019, Moody worked to establish a statewide taskforce that would work to understand the causes of the epidemic statewide, and to better identify new treatment options.

Where Do We Go From Here?

With the creation of Attorney General Moody’s taskforce this past spring, Floridians will likely see developments on new ways to address the opioid crisis in the next year. That said, some general principles have been identified nation-wide to begin addressing the problem.

Doctors are continuing to reevaluate their prescribing practices. This ensures opioids are used safely and are not over-prescribed. First responders, including law enforcement and firefighters, are being trained in how to handle overdoses.

Ultimately, this epidemic has proven to be a multi-faceted problem, and there will likely be no simple, unilateral solution to it.

When the Florida Opioid Epidemic Hits Home

While facts and figures about the Florida opioid epidemic are important, they ultimately cannot tell the whole story. The real story of this epidemic is felt by the thousands of families affected by it.

If you or someone you love has been affected by opioid addiction, know that there is help available. Contact us today to learn more about what your treatment options are.

What to do when your parent turns to drugs or alcohol? Part 1 of 3

So often, when we speak about addiction and finding help, we speak in terms of helping parents find help for their young-adult children. Periodically, we talk about getting help for your spouse. However, we seldom discuss what happens when it is time to find help for your parents. This three-part series will explain why substance abuse is prevalent among our senior population, how to recognize when a parent is abusing drugs and finally, how to approach them about seeking help.

Very quietly, over the past several years, more and more, older adults are turning to drugs and alcohol for comfort and becoming dependent on these substances. Nearly 10,000 individuals are turning 65 on a daily basis and many are retiring, which compounds the issue. Here are a few reasons why our seniors and retirees are abusing drugs/alcohol.

1 – Many of us are “used” to taking medication for a variety of medical issues as well as aches and pains. As we age, the number of pills we take daily also tends to increase. Therefore, it’s not uncommon for seniors to increase the number of highly-addictive opioid painkillers they are taking, or turn to alcohol to numb their physical pain.

2 – Just like younger generations, substance abuse can be triggered by a stressor. In seniors, the most common stressors are financial or health concerns, the strain of being a caregiver to another ailing family member or the death of a spouse.

3 – Boredom is also a common thread among seniors who abuse alcohol. Empty nesters without the support of nearby family, limited financial means and limited or few hobbies can translate to boredom for many retirees. If someone is accustomed to having happy hour with friends after work, the happy hour may start at home much earlier in the day.

If you have a parent who will soon be retiring, ask them about their social and financial plans for retirement. If they don’t have a plan, encourage them to pick up hobbies or do volunteer work to help keep them active and engaged with other individuals.

Related Blog:  Addiction and Family

Pathways provides 28-day and extended care treatment programs for adults with substance use disorders. In addition to engaging clients in the 12-Step process, the program also focuses on setting boundaries, developing coping skills and handling trauma. If you, or someone you know is in need of substance abuse treatment, contact Pathways for more information at 855-349-5988.

What is the 28-day Program and What Does it Cost?

Traditionally, in the substance abuse treatment world, insurance providers have paid for 28 days of treatment in a residential setting. With this in mind, most of the treatment centers have patterned their programs to best fit the needs of the clients within this time frame.

Related Blog: How Can I Ask My Family to Help Pay for My Addiction Treatment?

Pathways Florida is a 28-day residential treatment program. The full rate is $9,600 and Pathways is contracted with many insurance providers (For a full list, click here). Clients are responsible for co-pays.

During the course of this 28-day program, clients receive individual and group counseling, learn about addiction, deal with any underlying factors that may have led to substance abuse, learn about their triggers and develop a relapse prevention strategy and become established in local 12-Step support group meetings.

For more information, please call 855-349-5988.

Co-dependency Can Hinder Recovery Results

As we work with our clients to get them on the road to recovery from drugs or alcohol, one of the things we do is look for issues in the client’s personal history that require resolution and trigger points that could cause a relapse. Understanding and overcoming co-dependency is part of the treatment process for many.

Related Blog: Recovery is More than Detox

What is co-dependency?
According to Mental Health America, “Co-dependency is a learned behavior that can be passed down from one generation to another. It is an emotional and behavioral condition that affects an individual’s ability to have a healthy, mutually satisfying relationship. It is also known as “relationship addiction” because people with co-dependency often form or maintain relationships that are one-sided, emotionally destructive and/or abusive. The disorder was first identified about 10 years ago as the result of years of studying interpersonal relationships in families of alcoholics. Co-dependent behavior is learned by watching and imitating other family members who display this type of behavior.”

Why does this hinder recovery efforts? If an individual is co-dependent on another individual recovery efforts can be undermined if the relationship continues. For example, Becky is a female who is an alcoholic. Her boyfriend Brad is also an alcoholic. Brad has a tendency to belittle and be verbally abusive to Becky, which eats away at her self-esteem. She began drinking with Brad trying to dull the pain of his verbal assaults. At one point in Becky’s life, she is in a treatment facility – this may be due to her own decision to change her life, a family intervention or possibly a court-ordered treatment program because she’s received multiple driving under the influence charges. Treatment is difficult for Becky at first. She doesn’t like being away from Brad and worries what he’s doing and who he is with. She spends her time thinking about him rather than focusing on her own issues. Finally, one day in group, she hears another client speak about an abusive spouse. The words ring true to her and she begins to open up to her counselor and other clients about the situation. She begins to understand that the best thing for her is to end her relationship with Brad and get a fresh start on life, but….

Some of the common “buts” are “but, I love him/her,” “but I’m financially dependent on him/her,” “but we have children together,” “but I think he’ll/she’ll change,” “but I don’t want to be alone.” As long as the “but” is part of the client’s belief system and thought process, this individual’s long-term recovery is in jeopardy.

Overcoming co-dependency is challenging for most, but a necessary piece to developing a firm foothold in recovery because the subject of the co-dependent person is also often the trigger for substance use.

At Pathways, we understand that many clients have issues beyond substance abuse, such as co-dependency, and for full success, these challenges need to be overcome. For more information, please call 855-349-5988.

Co-dependency Quiz

Do you think you have a co-dependency issue? Take a look at the questions below:

1 – When someone else acts inappropriately, I often feel guilty for him or her.

2 – It is hard for me to accept compliments from others.

3 – It is hard for me to say “no” when someone asks for help.

4 – I feel terrible about myself when I make mistakes.

5 – I have an overwhelming desire to feel needed by other people.

6 – I stay quiet to avoid arguments.

7 – I value others’ opinions of me more than I value my own.

8 – I feel resentment toward people who will not let me help them.

9 – I am often preoccupied with other people’s problems.

10 – I feel rejected when my significant other spends time with friends.

If you agree with most of these statements, you possess traits/beliefs shared by many people who are co-dependent. You may want to consider seeking professional help.

In the Media: An Effort to Keep Repeat DUI Offenders off the Roads

Last year, there were over 10,000 deaths related to DUI’s, with more than half being over weekends- all of which could’ve been avoided. According to P.J. Brooks of First Step, prevention is the key in this situation, because once a person is intoxicated, the ability to make smart decisions is greatly affected.

Watch the video below to learn more, or click here to watch the video on mysuncoast.com

Related Blog: Can a Drug Addict Drink Alcohol?

Pathways to Recovery is part of the First Step of Sarasota, Inc. family of treatment programs.

In the Media: Police Warn of Heroin Upswing

With heroin being more prolific than in the past, Bradenton saw at least 6 deaths and 35 potential overdoses in 2014. According to a recent Bradenton Police Department release, police responded to an average of 1 heroin overdose per week last year. This increase of heroin use can most likely be due to legislation, public awareness, and law enforcement cracking down on “pill mill” clinics.

For more information, click here to read the Bradenton Herald article about heroin use on the rise.

Pathways to Recovery is part of the First Step of Sarasota, Inc. family of treatment programs

Related Blog: Substance Abuse – The Cost To The Community