Florida Addiction Treatment Centers And Recovery Resources
Alcohol and Drug addiction in Florida is at epidemic proportions. Florida has long been a portal for drug trafficking because of its hundreds of miles of coastline and close proximity to supplier countries. Traffickers use two primary approaches to move their product into Florida—from the northern corridor of Mexico come large quantities of cocaine and marijuana moved overland in commercial and private vehicles. And from the southern corridor via Colombia and the Caribbean, traffickers transport their drugs on commercial airlines and across the water. Mexican cartels transport drugs from the Southwest across I-10 and from the Southwest to Atlanta and down I-75 into Florida. Colombian and Caribbean-based traffickers bring heroin, cocaine, and marijuana into south Florida on commercial airlines, fishing boats, cruise ships, and recreational watercraft. This easy access to the drug supply makes Florida one of the highest percentage state for drug addiction and drug activity. Florida is second after California for the most treatment centers. Many users from all over the US come to Florida for drug and alcohol rehabilitation. It can be really helpful to get away from their existing lifestyle during the rehab process and the great weather in Floirda helps offset some of the pain associated with kicking the addiction.
Colombians and Dominicans deliver most of the cocaine from the southern corridor while Mexicans deliver product through the northern corridor. National and locally-based street gangs sell cocaine at the retail level.
According to the National Drug Intelligence Center’s 2009 report, law enforcement in Florida’s southern corridor seized 12,731 kilograms of cocaine. Law enforcement agencies in both the north and south identify cocaine as the “greatest drug threat in their jurisdictions.” Recent cocaine seizures at points of origin (the Southwest and Caribbean) have decreased the supply and increased the price. For example, in the second half of 2008 in Jacksonville, cocaine prices increased from $700-$1,000 per ounce to $750-$1,200 an ounce. Crack cocaine went as high as $75 an ounce almost double in price.
Researchers at the University of Florida said using club drugs like Ecstasy (MDMA) have the same affects as traumatic brain damage: “cell death, memory loss and potentially irreversible brain damage.” Despite the consequences Floridians continue to use these drugs recreationally in bars, clubs, raves, and parties. Several common club drugs are MDMA, LSD and GHB. And they are most popular with high school and college students and young adults.
South American heroin is the most prevalent in Florida but other types of the drug (black tar) are also imported from Mexico. It’s most readily available in Miami, Jacksonville, Tampa, and Orlando. And its sale and distribution is generally associated with violence, prostitution, and theft. Some traffickers arrive in Florida via commercial airlines having swallowed latex glove fingers called “pellets” filled with 10-grams of heroin. Other traffickers are passengers or crew on cruise ships.
“Meth” continues to be a strong presence in Florida for its ease of production, mobility (labs) and disposability. One type of mobile process in particular has become popular: the “shake n’ bake.” This entails shaking a two-liter soda bottle filled with cold pills and household chemicals, a process easily done from the backseat of a car.
In 2009 according to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, 373 clandestine meth labs were seized—up from 177 in 2008. Mexican criminal groups are the primary traffickers into Florida transporting the drug in commercial and private vehicles. At the retail level, street gangs like the Latin Kings and Vice Lords sell quantities—usually 1 gram—in small plastic bags on bars, housing projects and sometimes at raves and parties.
In 2010, Florida passed a law (SB 1050) that requires retailers to track sales of products containing ephedrine—the principle ingredient in Meth.
Marijuana is the most widely available drug in Florida. Not only is the drug smuggled in from Mexico, Canada, Jamaica and Colombia, it’s also grown in significant quantities in the state. According to 2009 Time magazine article, Florida “is the country's leader in indoor marijuana cultivation.” In 2008, Florida law enforcement busted 1,022 grow houses. And unlike its nearest marijuana competitors, Florida growers can produce four crops annually.
Pharmaceuticals are called “controlled prescription drugs” (CPDs) in law enforcement circles. Some trade name CPDs in this category are Xanax, OxyContin, Valium, and Vicodin. Consider a few CPD facts in Florida. (1) Between 2003 and 2009 the number of deaths caused by prescription drugs went from 1,234 to 2,488. (2) Every day seven Floridians die from CPD overdoses. (3) According to the 2006 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, over half of nonmedical users obtained their drugs from friends or relatives for free.
The U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) says that CPDs are also obtained by prescription fraud, pharmacy thefts, inappropriate prescribing, websites, doctor shopping, and pain management clinics. According to a Florida grand jury, the number of pain clinics increased from 4 to 115 from 2007 to 2009 and that these “clinic” doctors distributed 9 million tablets of OxyContin.
According to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement’s 2009 Uniform Crime Reports there were 146,056 drug-related arrests across Florida. This is nearly double the number of arrests made in 1989 even taking into account the 50% increase in population. This increase occurs for a handful of reasons. First, more Floridians are using more kinds of drugs. Meth has become increasingly popular and cheap to produce. Supplies of CPDs are also more readily available. And the average age of drug users has decreased making for a larger pool of potential drug users.
Combine these social ingredients with Florida’s strict minimum mandatory drug laws—some of the harshest in the country—and you have a recipe for increasing future arrests and filling up Florida prisons.
An August 2010 Gainesville Sun article described the plight of a 19-year-old who was sentenced to 15 years for “selling 25 hydrocodone pills to an undercover officer.” Because of the increasing popularity of CPDs, Florida law enforcement has set up 8 task forces in major cities around the state. In addition, The Ryan Haight Online Pharmacy Consumer Protection Act of 2008 was enacted to “prohibit[s] the delivery, distribution, and dispensing of CPDs over the Internet without a prescription written by a doctor who has conducted at least one in-person examination of the patient.”
Treatment Centers In Florida
The huge number of addicts in Florida makes is one the best state for treatment centers. Many addict also choose Florida for out-of-state treatment and therapy programs