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What’s Causing the Rise of Substance Abuse in Florida?

An aerial view of Miami Beach in Florida.

Florida is arguably one of the most popular states in the country. From the warm weather, scenic beaches and theme parks, tourists and residents love everything the sunshine state has to offer. Unfortunately, substance abuse is overshadowing the beauty and wonder of the state many of us call home.

An increase in substance abuse doesn’t appear out of thin air. So, what’s actually causing it? If you have a loved one struggling with addiction, it’s important to understand what’s causing the rise in drug use across the state and the treatment available to help.

3 Reasons Substance Abuse is Increasing in Florida

The COVID-19 Pandemic

COVID-19 has forced everyone in the state to embrace a new normal where entertainment options are limited and social distancing is recommended. Not all attractions are closed, though, so going out and not following safety recommendations can put people’s health at risk.

People struggling with addiction or trying to maintain their recovery haven’t had their normal coping routines to practice. This can lead to boredom, anxiety and depression – all issues that can lead to alcohol and drug use. In fact, the Miami Herald found that alcohol consumption has increased by 55 percent since the COVID-19 pandemic started. The Sun Sentinel has also reported that overdose deaths are up 49 percent in Palm Beach County.

The pandemic didn’t initiate the rise in substance abuse in Florida, but it has continued the trend and made it harder for people like your loved one to avoid addiction.

Drug Trafficking

Part of the increase in substance abuse in Florida is linked to drug trafficking. In 2014, there was a major shift in how people smuggled drugs into the country because of the Mexican government’s crackdown on drugs. In response, drug traffickers turned to water and Florida’s staggering 1,350 miles of coastline.

Many South American countries have increased their drug production and use Florida as a staging ground for U.S. distribution. As a result, more drugs have passed through Florida than ever before and given the state’s residents easier access. This combined with cheaper costs has created a breeding ground of illegal drug use and addiction.

Opioid Prescription Rates in Florida

While the pandemic has been at the forefront of news headlines this past year, the opioid epidemic continues to ravage the country. Sadly, Florida is no exception. Part of the spike in opioid abuse is due to overprescribing. In 2018, 5.5 patients out of every 1,000 started a new opioid prescription. The problem got to be so big that the state government passed a new law in the same year. This law limited the amount of days doctors could prescribe opioids to three days, helping to bring down the number of patients receiving new painkiller prescriptions.

Even with this law, though, opioid addiction continues to track upward in the state. More legislation and healthier care for chronic pain are needed to lower opioid addiction in Florida.

Your Loved One Can Recover at Footprints Beachside Recovery

At Footprints Beachside Recovery, we know how hard it is to deal with substance abuse. We’ve been where your loved one is now, and that’s how we know they have the potential to reach lasting recovery. Our family-run addiction treatment center in Florida can uncover the underlying causes of your loved one’s addiction, help them find ways to manage their cravings and avoid alcohol and drugs available in the state.

Contact our admissions team today to learn more about our addiction treatment approach and discover how to get your loved one started.