Coral Springs, Florida Drug Crisis
The nationwide opioid epidemic has hit home in Coral Springs, Florida with Fentanyl-related deaths spiking by a staggering 97 percent in 2016. Statewide there were 1,390 fentanyl-related deaths last year, a significant jump from the 705 deaths in 2015. Fortunately, drug treatment in Coral Springs is available.
But opioids are not the only problem. Current trends show that alcohol, marijuana, opiates, Xanax, valium, heroin, crack, cocaine, and crystal meth are most prevalent throughout Florida. Overall, drug-related deaths increased 22 percent across the state. The presence of methamphetamine grew by 104 percent since the year before and a grim 171 percent more meth-related deaths were reported.
The governor of Florida has expressed grave concern over the growing drug epidemic and has tapped more than $54 million in U.S. Department of Health and Human Services grant money to pay for prevention, treatment and recovery services.
Understanding the Drugs Causing the Crisis
Pill mills continue to bring a substantial supply of prescription drugs for recreational use to the Coral Springs area. As of 2011, illegal prescription drugs were the leading cause of drug-related overdose deaths in South Florida. The number of both overdose deaths and admissions to treatment facilities increased dramatically in 2011 over previous years. The most commonly abused prescription drugs included fentanyl, hydrocodone, methadone, morphine, oxycodone, and benzodiazepines.
Florida Law Enforcement Tackles Distribution Sources
Law enforcement in the region has sought to shut down the pill mills specifically, leading to the seizure of 28,000 doses of illegal prescription drugs, including hydrocodone, oxycodone, and alprazolam. While South Florida law enforcement continues to find new ways to combat the spread of opioids, they must still contend with other drug problems in the area.
Designer Club Drugs
Complicating the drug problems in Coral Springs, is the growing popularity of synthetic club drugs. Also known to law enforcement as novel psychoactive substances, designer drugs contain ingredients that continuously change. The constantly changing ingredient list makes it difficult for law enforcement and the courts to designate illegal from legal substances. As a result, harsher and more dangerous drugs flood the streets of Coral Springs including new powerful drugs like Flakka, which offer an amphetamine-like high. Law enforcement and users alike refer to it as the zombie drug because it is not only highly addictive but produces in many users bizarre and uncontrollable behavior.
Crack and powder cocaine continue to be popular drugs of choice in the South Florida area. Cocaine-related deaths rose for the fourth year in a row in 2016, contributing to the loss of 2,882 lives. Nearby communities in Broward County experienced high rates of cocaine-related deaths at 405. Drug enforcement officials estimate that Colombia drug cartels produced 710 tons of pure cocaine last year, which was enough to fill eighteen semi-trucks. This is a 35 percent increase over 2015 cocaine production.
Law enforcement have done their best to reduce the spread of drugs in the South Florida area. They also need support from the community to help prevent use and the growing addiction problem. Helping loved ones receive drug addiction recovery assistance through rehabilitation saves lives. It is critical for families, friends and teachers to look for the red flags of addiction in South Florida’s youth, where statistics for all types of drug use and abuse continue to rise.
Knowing the Signs of Drug Addiction
Family and friends need to look for the signs of addiction. There are specific indicators for different drugs, but overall the earmarks of addiction are clearly apparent.
Signs of Cocaine Use
- Too much energy
- Dilated pupils
- Runny nose
- Weight loss
- Mood swings
- Social isolation
- Numerous nosebleeds from snorting
- Changes in sleeping and eating patterns
- White powder residue around the nose and mouth
- Burn marks on the hands and lips
- Loss of interest in personal hygiene
- Financial difficulties
- Loss of interest in things that once brought joy
- Increased need for privacy
Signs of Designer Club Drug use
- Discarded glass vials, or small plastic bags, with traces of white powder
- Pipes, inhalers or syringes
- Paranoid or delusional actions
- Visual disturbances or hallucinations
Signs of Opioid Use
- Noticeable elation/euphoria
- Marked sedation/drowsiness
- Constricted pupils
- Slowed breathing
- Intermittent nodding off, or loss of consciousness
Talking a Loved One into Rehab
The hardest phase of the recovery process is getting addicts to commit to recovery. No treatments will ever work when an addicted person refuses to participant or simply “goes along” with the process, waiting to return to the streets. Family and friends need to express the love they feel for an addicted individual as well as the pain they have been caused from their loved one’s addiction. Parents, sibling and friends need to reach past the callused shell that dependency creates and touch the person they used to know deep inside. Finding compassion and understanding is the only way to compel an addicted person to recovery. Often, intervention is the first step.
How Intervention Works
Intervention may require the help of an intervention specialist to help guide the process. Intervention success rates are at ninety percent the day of the intervention, which reveals the impact and influence family and friends can have on an addicted individual. The key factors of a successful intervention include:
- Having a Definitive Plan- using a professional intervention specialist is ideal, however advice and counseling from social workers and organizations that help with planning strategies for families. They can help prepare a family for what to expect, what to say and how to move forward.
- Organize an Intervention Group-deciding who will participate in the intervention is critical. Many family members may not wish to join in because of the stress of the situation. There are also those who may not be emotionally strong enough to handle the difficulties of the event. A group leader will designate those who should participate.
- Get educated about rehab-an intervention is made up of a group of loved ones committed to helping the addicted individual. Each participant must understand the depth of the addicted person’s reliance on drugs, as well as understand the value and process of treatment so they can speak truthfully during the intervention process.
- Draw a line in the sand-If an addicted person refuses treatment, then the group must agree on consequences. An addicted person may be excluded from the household, refused money or support. As painful as this step is, there cannot be any contradiction among group members.
- Be prepared to express sincere emotions – Collecting one’s thoughts and preparing what to say to the addicted is what makes up the substance of intervention. Express love, explain how their actions have caused pain and how necessary treatment for them will be healing for all.
- Stay calm- It is important that expressions in the intervention are not perceived as threats, insults or rage to the addicted individual. Calmness is the optimal emotion.
- Be prepared for next steps- rehab is the next step of the intervention process. Whether it be inpatient residential treatment or an outpatient plan, having a recovery center ready to go makes the process smooth and stress-free for an addicted person who is embracing help.
Recovery Specialists Take the Lead at Pre-Intake
At pre-intake, recovery specialists will ask questions and conduct exams to better understand the life and health of the addicted individual. Tests that take place during pre-intake include:
Medical Tests- doctors will test to see the physical impact drugs have had on the patient and if further hospitalization is necessary before transporting them to a residential treatment center.
Psychiatric Evaluation-a psychiatrist will determine the mental state of the patient, both to understand the influence drugs have had on the psyche of the patient as well as any other mental health issues that may be present.
Toxicology Testing- Tests for what drugs are being taken and how much will determine the severity of the addiction.
A Personal History-The recovery specialist need to know everything about a new patient. Aside from all the clinical testing, there needs to be an intensive interview to understand family history, any history of abuse and a deeper examination of the personal life of the individual to better know why drugs may have taken hold.
Dealing with Detox
The process of ridding the body of the physical addiction to drugs has many risk factors, which is why it is never recommended that an addict attempt detox without the aid of recovery and detox professionals. Recovery specialists can help ease the symptoms of detox with prescribed medications. Medications can also help with future cravings as the detox process evolves. The use of medications varies depending on the drug of choice. Recovery specialists will also monitor medical conditions throughout the detox process. Seizures sometimes occur, and having an expert available is essential for managing medical emergencies during the detox process if they occur.
The Impact of Withdrawals
As the detox process begins, the body begins to have adverse reactions to the absence of drugs in the system. Many highly addictive drugs like heroin can cause severe reactions including extreme cramping and anxiety. Vomiting and nausea accompanied by heavy sweating are also common. The ability to endure this ordeal is the critical step toward longer recovery. Releasing the grip of drugs requires determination of the addicted person, which is reinforced by the presence of recovery professionals who can offer moral support.
Understanding the Treatment Options
After detox, understanding what will happen in treatment is important for a recovering addict so they will have no misconceptions about recovery. Here are some points every patient will learn from the intake process.
Time should not be wasted. Getting treatment for drug addiction as soon as possible can prevent the addiction from becoming worse and avoid the possibility of an overdose.
Treatments are different for every person. There is not one type of treatment. Recovery professionals will customize a treatment plan that fits the individual based on factors learned in pre-intake including the severity of the addiction and medical history.
Recovery is a personal journey. Therapists and recovery specialists will get to deeper personal causes of addiction that may include family life and past harmful experiences that have make drugs appealing to escape bad memories.
Mental health may be a factor in addiction. Recovery specialists look at the overall mental health of a patient. Many times, other mental health issues like depression or anxiety have compounded the addiction. In many instances, it may be the root cause of drug use.
Physical health is also important. Addiction may have caused health issues from liver damage to HIV. These health concerns are addressed as part of the treatment plan. They need to be recognized as a complex component of the recovery process.
Rehab doesn’t end with detox. Many addicts come to rehab thinking they get to leave right after the detox process is complete. Detox is just the first step. Inpatient and outpatient programs are the long-term solution to drug addiction recovery.
The impact of family on addiction. Many addictions start at home either because another family member is using drugs or alcohol, or family life has many stresses which lead to drug use. Helping the family recover along with the addict is an essential part of the treatment plan.
Medications may be prescribed. Medicines that help with the recovery process can ease withdrawal symptoms and reduce drug cravings. Many drugs like methadone may become a part of treatment and may continue to be prescribed at outpatient care and into aftercare.
Committing personally to treatment. Drugs like cocaine and opioids can make an addict reluctant to seek help because of the hold the drugs have on them. Interventions helps to coax an addicted person toward treatment, but in the long run, if they are not ready they will not recover. Treatment must be a personal commitment they make above the urgings of loved ones.
Finding a Treatment That Works
During intake, recovery professionals will determine what type of treatment is necessary. Intake procedures are customized to fit the patient. They may determine if medications are helpful and what methods of therapy should be applied. They also may help the patient decide on the best course of treatment between the two existing types. Residential inpatient care or outpatient care both provide similar services but focus on different aspects and degrees of addiction for different kinds of patients.
The Inpatient Residential Treatment Option
Residential treatment centers create a protective and comforting sanctuary for recovering addicts. If there is a negative home environment that is influencing addiction or if drugs in their school or neighborhood is driving their usage, residential treatment is the best option. Inpatient centers provide the essentials of patient care including:
- Round the clock care and medical support-An important factor for severe withdrawal situations and where other medical conditions may compound the addiction treatment.
- A support network of other recovering addicts- A patient can learn from the experiences of others and realize that he or she is not alone with their addiction.
- Overall health programs. An important part of the recovery process focuses on well-being, exercise, nutrition and counseling as a comprehensive part of recovery.
Outpatient Options for Drug Treatment
There are instances where residential care is not necessary or simply not accessible. Often, residential rehab can be too expensive or many addicts have a mild addiction which doesn’t require the thirty to ninety stays at a recovery center. In this instance, they are still able to manage some semblance of a life and residential treatment would interrupt that. Though residential treatment is preferred for most severer drug addiction cases, outpatient treatment is another possibility for some. Here recovering addicts can receive the best care from licensed counselors and recovery professionals without staying in a facility. They balance therapy, medication and life on a schedule.
Innovative Approaches in Outpatient Care
Though many of the new therapies for treating drug addiction are available in both inpatient and outpatient settings, outpatient sessions are more likely to offer a variety of options when it comes to treatment methods. Many counselors are implementing more holistic care therapies into their recovery objectives. Based on Eastern practices, these simple therapies help heal mind, body and spirit. These treatments usually supplement traditional twelve step care options. They will never completely replace traditional drug addiction treatment. They do however provide a refreshing alternative that can enhance and progress the healing process faster.
Incorporating holistic care into existing treatment plans has become common for helping individuals who are especially open to new approaches. Using techniques like yoga and meditation, therapists can help recovering addicts focus more on their health and personal healing. Acupuncture is another technique that refines personal focus. Combined with other treatments, these non-traditional therapies can help realign a person spiritually and mentally so that recovery is not just about medicine and meetings.
Twelve Step Sessions and Aftercare
Long-term recovery for any drug requires goals that are attainable. Twelve step programs are used by rehabilitation centers, both impatient and outpatient because they set benchmarks for recovery. Recovering addicts, need to find a path of recovery that is gradual and includes steps that bring them closer to a positive horizon of long-term sobriety.
Understanding the Twelve Steps
Twelve-step programs are used by seventy-four percent of rehabilitation and drug treatment centers. The basic philosophy is that addicted people help each other through the recovery process and help each other maintain sober living.
The Twelve Steps
- Admitting a powerlessness over heroin-they are not in control of the drug, but they are in control of their life
- Accept a greater spiritual power great than yourself-abandon self-centeredness
- Spirituality not the cravings of drug addiction define a life
- Self-examine fearlessly to discover why drugs were chosen
- Admit that you are at fault and have harmed yourself and others
- Embrace spiritual healing, not just physical health
- Ask God to remove weakness that hold you back from recovery
- Go to those you have damaged and seek to make amends
- Amending your damage whenever possible becomes your motto
- Always humbly seeking forgiveness
- Heal yourself through prayer and meditation
- Find that spiritual awakening
Healing Family Wounds and Aftercare
The addiction cycle destroys families. Parents and siblings watch a person wither away under the influence of addiction and it destroys them as well. Sometimes family members turn away from the addicted to save themselves, emotionally and psychologically. This abandonment leaves lasting wounds that need to heal for both the family and the addicted. Through family therapy sessions, many of these past wounds can be addressed and the healing process can begin. Trust and love need be reaffirmed for both the family and the recovering addict.
Balancing Sober Living
For a recovering addicted person, temptations are all around. Past druggie friends may make a reappearance in their lives and influence a relapse. Sober friends who are not addicts may not understand a recovering person’s need to always remain sober. Also, the normal stresses of everyday life can also trip relapse urges. Work, school and family and even romantic relationships can cause pressures that make anyone struggling with recovery to seek escape back into drugs.
How to Manage Triggers
Triggers are personal connections to places and things that remind the addicted of the more positive aspects of using a drug. These mental switches can remind the addicted of the ease and euphoria they used to experience and be highly influential in drug relapses.
Places where drugs are purchased excite the recovering person when it is mentioned on the news during a drug bust or when they drive past the location, which to anyone else is just a street sign on a street corner.
Certain issues with family may be a trigger. Certain words from a father or mother unconsciously spoken at a family dinner remind a recovering addict of past shames, which can drive an urge for drugs.
Learning how to manage triggers is by far the most important aspect of sober living. Knowing what triggers are causing the urges and finding healthy ways to respond to them is the long-lasting achievement of a sober life.