Facts About Florida’s Substance Abuse Stats
In 2011, around 8 percent of Floridians used illicit drugs, which is near the national average. That means around 1.5 million Floridians used illegal drugs that year. Since Florida has such a large population, the scale of its drug problem is also large.
Unfortunately, many of those users are highly addicted. In 2013 and 2014, around 410,000 Floridians were dependent on or had abused illicit drugs within a year of being surveyed.
Heavy usage has serious consequences. Florida’s rate of drug-induced death in 2010 was higher than the national average. In 2010, drug use caused the deaths of 3,181 Floridians. That’s more people than died due to either car accidents or guns
Florida Cocaine Addiction
Florida also faces stubbornly consistent rates of cocaine and methamphetamine use. Cocaine is readily available in Florida, since the state is one of the major ports of entry for the drug. Meth users make their own supply of the drug in rural areas, or buy high-grade, imported versions of the drug in cities.
Clearly, many Floridians suffer from the awful effects of drug and alcohol abuse. Here are some of the unique factors that have brought so many Floridians to the brink.
Florida’s Opiate And Opioid Problem
In the early 2010s, Florida was mired in the worst part of the nation’s newest drug crisis. Thousands of Floridians were addicted to prescription painkillers. These synthetic opioids were broadly available through legitimate means.
Unscrupulous medical professionals began to flood the state with vast quantities of highly addictive, artificial opioids. These opioids are marketed under brand names like Vicodin and OxyContin and are just as dangerous as heroin or morphine.
Doctors opened unethical clinics called pill mills that were really drug dealing operations. “Patients” could pay cash for massive prescriptions of opioids. Those people could take the drugs themselves or resell them on the street for a tidy profit.
The clinics themselves did very well. Doctors hired violent criminals to keep the junkies in line and intimidate anyone who thought about stealing some of the clinics’ vast quantities of cash.
All this activity ensnared thousands of unlikely addicts in a cycle of addiction. To be sure, many recreational users started to abuse opioids. But so did patients suffering from injuries or chronic pain and recovering from surgery. Many doctors prescribed legitimate patients far more opioids than they needed. Some patients used their whole supply and developed dependencies.
The opioid crisis became acute in 2010, when seven Floridians died every day from opioid poisoning.
The crisis became acute in 2010, when seven Floridians died every day from opioid poisoning. The state responded by restricting the amount of opioids patients could access, creating a database that tracked prescriptions, and focusing law enforcement on the issue. The state’s efforts have made an impact. Pill mills have been curtailed and closed. Doctors are now more reluctant to prescribe opioids. When they do so, they write prescriptions for smaller quantities.
Tragically, these efforts were too late for many Floridians. They were trapped in dependency and the cycle of addiction. Many still abuse opioids and need help with their recovery. Worst of all, opioids still kill five Floridians every day.
Still others have fallen victim to another dangerous addiction. When they couldn’t get their hands on opioids anymore, many addicts switched over to heroin.
Alcohol Abuse In Florida
Like residents anywhere else, many Floridians are alcoholics. Florida is a hard-drinking state. Several beach areas are well-known nationally as party destinations. Young people flock to Florida from all over the country for spring break celebrations.
Overconsumption of alcohol is a hallmark of spring break. Dozens of movies and TV shows portray college students chugging vast quantities of beer and spirits. Beer and liquor companies sponsor parties in major spring break destinations. Underage drinking is extremely common in these gatherings. Older college students will buy alcohol for their teenage friends. Some kids die from overconsumption.
Some of Florida’s college students live the spring break lifestyle year round. Several of Florida’s biggest colleges — Florida State, the University of Florida, and the University of Miami — are known nationally as party schools. Each has a reputation for a hard-drinking culture centered around tailgating and Greek life.