Florida Drug Rehab

Florida Drug Rehab

The Need For Florida Drug Rehab

Florida is the main thoroughfare for heroin and cocaine transiting to the United States and to Canada. Florida’s coastlines provide unlimited opportunities and access for drug traffickers to use the coast to smuggle these drugs. Because of the numerous population of so many different nationalities and their ties to Central and South America, it has become a primary control center for smuggling and for distribution of Meth, Cocaine and Marijuana though out the state. The need for Florida drug rehab centers is on the rise.

Cocaine is the biggest drug threat to Florida. With the wide varieties of smuggling opportunities in Florida, like air, coastline and numerous interstates it is the biggest and most widespread drug in the state. This drug is shipped into Florida by the coastlines and then it is sold through out Florida, but also a large amount is sold through out the United States. Florida drug rehab is available to help any person that is suffering from any type of addiction.

Heroin is the drug that is widely used in the Orlando area. South Florida is the number one point of entry for heroin in Florida. Heroin is smuggled into Florida by air. The shipment comes in by planes with legitimate cargo like flowers, but the heroin is concealed in the flowers.

Meth is another growing problem in Florida and is impacting nearly every area of the Florida coast. Meth labs are also a growing problem for Florida due to the increasing number of labs and the amounts they are producing.

Illegal Drugs Cast a Shadow on the Sunshine State

What makes Florida so attractive to drug traffickers?
The answer is surprisingly simple. It’s location, location, location.

The length of Florida’s coastline is second only to Alaska’s, and where there’s a coast line, there’s commerce of all kinds, both legal and illegal.

Drug Smuggling

Smuggling drugs into the United States via the Florida keys has a long history and has created many fortunes. In the 1970s, tons of cannabis arrived by boat and were then hauled off the islands by tractor trailers. Even with the declaration of the War or Drugs in the 1980’s, smugglers simply changed their strategy and continued the flow of drugs into Key West. It was at that time that cocaine trafficking grew as it was smuggled in by various underwater containers attached to the bottom of vessels and smaller boats with hidden compartments.

Florida’s proximity to drug-producing countries as well as its well developed transportation infrastructure of seaports, roadways (like Interstates 75, 95 and 595), and airports that link the area to other domestic drug markets, make it an ideal gateway for the movement of illicit goods into and through the United States. Infamously, Interstate 75 is known as the Oxy Express and Interstate 95 was dubbed Oxy Alley. Drug traffickers frequently use maritime vessels, commercial and private aircraft and even package delivery services to smuggle drugs into Florida. The Port of Miami and Port Everglades offer services for cargo and cruise ships, with the Port of Miami having approximately 20 shipping lines that call on 250 ports across the world. There are also two major airports in the region – Miami International Airport and Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International. Drug trafficking organizations often take advantage of these infrastructures for their illicit activity.

Money Laundering

With the enormous amount of drug money requiring laundering, that part of the business was also brought to the Caribbean, the State of Florida and Europe. The South Florida High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) has long been an important money laundering center for illicit drug money from drug trafficking organizations (DTOs) that routinely launder money through local financial institutions, shell corporations, real estate fraud, and the Colombian Black Market Peso Exchange (BMPE).

What are some of the negative effects to the region?

In their 2011 analysis,

the South Florida High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area report states:

  • Controlled prescription drugs (CPDs) are the leading cause of drug-related overdose deaths in the area.
  • Data from Florida medical examiners indicate the number of deaths in the South Florida HIDTA region from prescription opioids and benzodiazepines increased from 1,597 in 2008 to 1,913 in 2009.
  • The number of opiate-related treatment admissions statewide to publicly funded facilities increased from 8,696 in 2008 to 12,348 in 2009.
  • At the time of the report (2011), 7 of the 48 law enforcement agencies that responded identified CPDs as the drug that contributes most to violent crime, and 13 of the 48 report the same for property crime.

In a 2009 study

on the consequences of untreated alcohol and drug use in Florida, the Florida Substance Abuse and Mental Health Corporation, the Florida Alcohol and Drug Abuse Association and Spectrum Programs, Inc. showed that crime, illness, and other adverse alcohol and drug abuse events were costing Florida more than $43 billion a year.

According to 2009 Florida Substance Abuse and Mental Health Corporation reporting, at that time, each hour in Florida:

  • $2.6 million was lost as a result of drug use
  • $393,000 was spent due to crimes committed because of drugs
  • $11,857 was spent on hospitalization due to drug use
  • One person lost their life due to alcohol and drug use
  • Drug abuse sent two people to the hospital for treatment

Where does Florida stand in relation to the rest of the country?

The Orlando Sentinel reported in October 2013 that Florida had the eleventh highest drug overdose death rate in the country. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that as of 2010, sales of prescription painkillers per capita nationally have quadrupled since 1999. That’s enough to medicate every adult in America for a month.

Until recently, Florida was a major source for powerful, diverted pharmaceuticals for criminal distribution rings throughout the nation. Pain management clinics called “pill mills” flourished during the last decade because of poor regulatory oversight. It didn’t help that Florida was one of the last states to implement a Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP).

Nationally, meth lab seizures rose 76 percent from 2007 to 2009, but meth lab seizures in Florida rose 148 percent.

What about drug-related gang activity in Florida?

According to the National Drug Intelligence Center, gang activity related to drug trafficking is widespread in Florida. While there are hundreds of local gangs, there are at least four nationally affiliated gangs from Chicago, New York and Los Angeles with local chapters in Florida to distribute drugs. They are:

The Bloods and Crips

They traffic in drugs throughout the country including Florida. While they consider themselves rivals, they’ll cooperate in criminal activities for profit.

The Gangster Disciples

Primarily an African-American gang out of Chicago, they distribute crack cocaine, heroin and marijuana in over 40 states including Florida.

The Latin Kings

Predominantly Hispanic street gang also known as the Almighty Latin King Nation, they have two major factions in Chicago and in New York City, but the gang has expanded to 30 states including Florida.

The Vice Lords

A gang is based in Chicago that is predominantly African American is one of the largest and most violent street gangs in the United States. They traffic in crack cocaine, marijuana, methamphetamine and heroin in 28 states including Florida.

What’s being done to combat the problem?

In March 2011, Gov. Rick Scott along with Attorney General Bondi created Florida’s Regional Drug Enforcement Strike Forces. The Florida legislature then enacted HB 7095 to support both health care professionals and law enforcement to combat prescription drug diversion.

Has it been successful?

According to a 2014 Progress Report from the Statewide Task Force on Prescription Drug Abuse and Newborns found on floridahealth.gov, the number of Florida doctors dispensing the most oxycodone annually has declined dramatically since the implementation of HB 7095.

  • In 2010, 98 of the top 100 oxycodone pill dispensing doctors nationally resided in Florida.
  • In 2011, just 13 of the top 100 resided in Florida.
  • No Florida doctors made the top 100 list by the end of 2012.

The Florida Regional Drug Enforcement Strike Force has reduced the supply of diverted prescription drugs through multi-jurisdictional operations against corrupt wholesalers, rogue pharmacies, unscrupulous physicians and doctor-shopping patients. Their efforts resulted in:

  • 3,742 arrests (including 67 doctors)
  • the seizure of 848,037 pharmaceutical pills
  • the confiscation of 121 vehicles and 538 weapons,
  • the closing of 254 pain clinics, and
  • the seizure of over $10 million dollars as of December 2013

An additional very positive result has been the dramatic drop of prescription drug overdose deaths.
From 2005-2010, prescription drug deaths were increasing by 12 percent each year. Oxycodone-specific deaths increased 35 percent each year, but since the implementation of the Drug Enforcement Strike Forces and HB 7095, the following declines are reported.

  • 52 percent decline in the number of oxycodone overdose deaths
  • 23 percent decline in hydrocodone overdose deaths, and
  • 23 percent decline in prescription drug overdose deaths

The drug problem is still here, though, right?

Many pill mills were shut down and many doctors arrested, but rogue pain management clinics located in the South Florida region are a source for abusers in the area as well as in other eastern markets. DEA South Florida Task Force indicates that pill mill operations share several characteristics, like the ability to quickly relocate, cash-based payment methods, and exclusive connections with certain physicians and pharmacies.

Many cash-only operations in South Florida are used by distributors and abusers both in the region and from other areas of the eastern United States. In many cases, the out-of-state distributors and abusers work in teams, using the coastal perimeter of Florida to divert CPDs.

The South Florida HIDTA region includes Broward, Miami-Dade, Monroe and Palm Beach Counties. It is a primary arrival zone for multikilgram deliveries of cocaine, and multipound quantities of heroin and marijuana transported into the continental United States through the Caribbean corridor.

Have there been unintended consequences to the crack down?

Unfortunately, yes.

Because of the successful actions of the Florida Task Force, many pill mills have been forced to relocate, charge more, and have become harder to find for the individual user.

Enter high quality, low priced heroin dealers, and abusers of prescription drugs who can no longer afford the high of their favorite pills, or can’t easily find the them, turn to heroin. Since 2011 when the crack-down closed so many pill mills or forced them to relocate, heroin dealers have stepped in to fill the void.

State-wide, deaths from the more potent and easily available heroin rose 89 percent from 2011 to 2012, and in Miami-Dade County, they rose 120 percent. Most troublesome is that the spike in heroin use and deaths is greatest among young adults under thirty who are using it as a replacement for prescription pain pills.

In addition, there is some concern that legitimate chronic pain patients cannot find the drugs they need to threat their condition.

What is being done on a local basis to combat drug abuse?

Drug-Free Communities (DFC) Program

Acknowledging the need for local solutions to local problems, DDrug-FreeCommunities have mobilized to prevent youth drug use. In 2011, the following Florida coalitions (partial list) received grants:

  • Alliance for Substance Use Prevention – Pasco County
  • Charlotte Alliance for a Safe and Drug Free Community
  • Drug Free Charlotte County
  • Drug Free Hendry County
  • Drug Free Highland
  • Hernando City Community
  • Informed Families South Miami Drug Free Coalition
  • Many other local organizations in the state

What are the most commonly abused drugs?

From the city of Melbourne, FL City Police Department:

Cannabis (Marijuana)

A tall leafy plant that grows all over the world.
Not physically addictive, but is moderately psychologically addictive.
Effects: Time and spatial perception distortions, euphoria, excitement, laughter, increased appetite, paranoia and/or panic attacks. May be used as a treatment for nausea, glaucoma, anorexia nervosa, and may be an anti-epileptic.

Cocaine

Native to South America, it is found in the leaves of the Erthroxylum coca plant.
Moderately physically addictive, but can be severely psychologically addictive.
Effects: Increases alertness and wakefulness, induces euphoria, elevates mood, increases energy, irritability, insomnia and restlessness. Increases heart rate, blood pressure, pulse and respiration.

Crack

Another form of cocaine, after being heated it forms crack cocaine and is cut into “rocks.”
Moderately physically addictive, but can be severely psychologically addictive.
Effects: Short-lived, but more intense that other cocaine. Users experience a “crash” that includes depression, fatigue and irritability. Long term effects include wheezing, lung trauma, coughing of black phlegm, and parched lips, tongue and throat.

Ecstasy (MDMA)

Ecstasy is an amphetamine derivative extracted from an oil of the sassafras tree.
Possibly physically addictive and is moderately psychologically addictive.
Effects: Euphoric sense of well being, connectedness and empathy for other people, enhanced sense of pleasure and increased energy. It’s a favorite on the club and “rave” scenes. Overdoses can cause confusion, anxiety, panic attacks, depression and psychosis.

GHB (Gamma Hydroxybutyric Acid)

A clear, colorless, odorless and nearly tasteless liquid, it is a solvent found in cleaning products, super glue removers and nail polish.
Possibly physically addictive and is moderately psychologically addictive.
Effects: Reduces the amount of oxygen the brain receives, depresses the respiratory system, reduces social inhibitions and increases libido. Can cause vomiting, dizziness, vertigo and seizures. Tremors, loss of consciousness, coma and deaths have been reported.

Heroin

An opiate derived from the opium poppy which contains morphine and codeine.
Extremely addictive both physically and psychologically.
Effects: Heroin is a sedative which creates a euphoric, drowsy and contented feeling. It relieves stress and discomfort by creating a detachment from pain, desire and activity. Depresses breathing and heart rate. Overdoses, greatly increased if alcohol or tranquilizer and used in addition to heroin, result in unconsciousness, coma or death.

LSD

The most commonly used hallucinogen in the United States, it is a liquid in base form, but can be sold on blotter paper, as pills, gelatin shapes known as window pane and sugar cubes.
Not physically addictive, but is moderately psychologically addictive.
Effects: An LSD trip can last up to 12 hours creating a vague feeling of anticipation, increased energy, a general change in sensory perception, hallucinations, feelings of confusion or extreme mental clarity.

Methamphetamine

Known as meth, speed, crank, ice or crystal.
Moderately physically addictive, but can be severely psychologically addictive.
Effects: Hyper-excitability, accelerated heartbeat, sweating, restlessness, tooth grinding and incessant talking. Users can develop an amphetamine psychosis which is similar to paranoid schizophrenia.

Mushrooms

A hallucinogen second only to LSD.
Not physically addictive, but is moderately psychologically addictive.
Effect: Less intense and of shorter duration that LSD, but has a similar effect.

Cannabinoids

Synthetic marijuana.
Not physically addictive, but is moderately psychologically addictive.
Effects: Synthetic cannabinoids are classified as a Schedule I hallucinogen, which means it has been determined there is a high potential for abuse and no accepted medical use in the state of Florida.

Oxycontin

OxyContin is the trade name for oxycodone hydrochloride.
It is both physically and psychologically addictive.
Abusers of the drug will often bypass the time-release control mechanism of swallowing the tablets whole by crushing, snorting, chewing or injecting the dissolved pill. The resulting uncontrolled delivery of the opioid can result in overdose and death.

Vicodin

Vicodin is the brand name for hydrocodone bitartrate, an opioid analgesic, and acetaminophen.
It can be habit forming or addictive.
The precise mechanism of action of hydrocodone and other opiates is not known, but it relates to the existence of opiate receptors in the nervous system. It may produce euphoria, lethargy, difficulty concentrating and mild anxiety.

What are the signs of addiction?

  • Changes in mood, from a sense of well being to belligerence
  • False feelings of self-confidence
  • Increased sensitivity to sights and sounds, including hallucinations
  • Altered activity levels like frenzied activity lasting for hours or sleeping for 12-14 hours
  • Unpleasant or painful symptoms when the substance is withdrawn

What are the current trends?

In a June 2013 report from the National Institute on Drug Abuse, Drug Abuse Trends in Miami-Dade and Broward Counties, South Florida:

  • Deaths related to non-medical use of prescription opioids went down 17 percent across Florida (first half of 2012 compared with the previous 6 months).
  • In 2012 cocaine use stabilized or increased following several years of steady declines.
  • Heroin indicators rose in 2012.
  • Synthetic cannabinoids and substitute cathinones (bath salt stimulants) increased tenfold between 2011 and 2012.
  • Marijuana use and addiction, especially among adolescents, continued at high levels.
  • Methamphetamine/MDMA use increased, especially among club drug users.
  • Non-medical use of prescription opioids resulting in death declined 17 percent across Florida during the first half of 2012 compared with the previous 6 months. The decline coincides with the launch of the State’s Prescription Drug Monitoring Program.
  • Injection drug use of prescription opioids, heroin and methamphetamine among young adults in South Florida has increased. Born after 1990, most of these new injection drug users were too young to be aware when the focus on the high risk of infected syringes was brought to the public consciousness. As a result, a public health threat of increased HIV and hepatitis C transmission is already occurring.

Addiction Treatment

Addiction is possible to any types of these drugs and help is not as far as away as it may seem. A Florida drug rehab is the best solution for the people that want to overcome their addiction problems.

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