South Florida Heroin Epidemic
South Florida is experiencing a surge of heroin overdoses and deaths, including hospitalizations and ER visits in the past few months. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), which is part of the national institute of Health, the heroin problem has reached epidemic proportions in South Florida, with deaths rising by 89 percent statewide, from 63 in 2011 to 117 in 2012. Heroin has become the preferred opioid drug since the crackdown on prescription drugs started a few years ago. Users are switching in order to get their fix or high, due to the fact that prescription drugs have become harder to get and more expensive. Much of the supply comes from Mexico, bringing in white powder versions of heroin, rather than the usual black tar and brown power form of heroin--all of them equally dangerous.
In Miami Dade County, deaths increased by 120 percent, from 15 in 2011 to 33 in 2012. Medical experts say that the latest spike in heroin use and deaths stems from young adults, 18 to 29, who are using it to replace prescription painkillers. South Florida is not the only state with these horrific events, where Vermont is facing the same problems. Some say a "full blown crisis," hoping to obtain more than a million to fund growth in recovery and treatment programs. Rehab facilities need more rooms, larger staff groups, advanced therapies, and greater space to help more people. Vermont had the highest rate of illegal drug use in the nation, from 2011 to 2012, according to a report by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services administration.
One of the main solutions is prevention, and educating the people in South Florida and elsewhere about the dangers of heroin use, or any opioid for that matter, which can end lives and cause long lasting addictions that can ruin a person's future. One official stated it perfectly, saying that "In Florida, we had a full force effort at cutting the supply (of painkillers) without ever addressing the demand, which was a fatal mistake." The point being, that the state took initiative in fixing the problem of the distribution of pills, but did not do anything about peoples' need for the drug, concerning addiction and dependency. Heroin and prescription painkillers are one of the hardest drugs to quit, so it is important that South Florida, Vermont, and other states in crisis take control of the problem and take greater preventative measures.
For more information on our addiction treatment programs and therapeutic approaches, call toll free at: 800-960-5041. Florida Center for Recovery offers residential drug and alcohol rehab treatment through 12-Step and Non 12-Step Programs.