Florida is a unique state for drug abuse in the United States. We are the fifth most populous state in the union with a geographical situation that makes it a natural hub for drug trafficking and drug abuse. Our state can easily be accessed by sea, by air, and by the well-developed interstate system that serves the area from within and throughout the country. We have a high number of metro areas with reputations as “party cities” but we also have plentiful access to rural areas where the production of methamphetamine and marijuana can be undertaken in an inconspicuous way. Florida has a high concentration of organized criminals that capitalize on all of the state’s drug-friendly features. All of these factors contribute to plentiful and easy-access drug supply in our state, meaning there are a lot of people who need help in our state.
Today, let’s look at 5 surprising truths about drug abuse in the sunshine state.
Fact #1: Deaths from Fentanyl Are Way Up
In 2019, there was a 164% increase in the number of fentanyl-related deaths in Florida. There were significantly higher numbers of deaths due to the dangerous drug in Duval, Marion, Citrus, Manatee, Monroe, and Palm Beach counties. Nationally, Florida ranked number 10 in a lineup of states with the highest numbers of Fentanyl-related deaths, trailing Virginia and New Hampshire with a total of 1,137 lives lost to the powerful opioid.
Fentanyl isn’t Florida’s only opioid problem, though. The state actually ranks number seven in the nation for deaths related to Oxycodone.
Fact #2: Overall Overdose Deaths are at an All-Time 10 Year High
Florida had 26.3 overdose deaths for every 100,000 people living in the state in 2017. Nationally, we have 22.3 overdose deaths for every 100,000 people in America. That means that Florida’s rate of overdose deaths is 15% higher than the national average.
When you look at the data, you’ll see a dip in Floridian overdose deaths between 2010 and 2013—this is due to the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program and the Pill Mill Laws affecting prescription drugs that were enacted in the state at that time. Clearly, these pieces of legislation reduced the number of overdose deaths, but unfortunately, their effect was short-lived, as addicted individuals found other ways to access their drug of choice.
Fact # 3: Youth Drinking is Down
How about some good news?
In Florida—as with the rest of the country—young people are drinking significantly less than they used to. Only 9.9% of youth in Florida had an alcoholic beverage in the last 30 days, which is slightly lower than the national average of 10%. This dramatic decrease in underage drinking that becomes especially clear when compared with underage drinking rates in 2006. 10 years ago, 18% of underage people reported drinking within the last 30 days. That’s nearly double what it is now!
More good news—youth binge drinking, a big indicator of problem drinking—is also down. Only 5.1% of Florida’s youth report binge drinking in the last 30 days. This also represents a dramatic 10-year decrease from 2006, when rates of underage binge drinking were as high as 10%.
Fact #4: Florida Has a Lot of DUIs
Back to the bad news.
Florida has a lot of DUI accidents and a high number of drug and alcohol-related deaths. Florida had a total of 9,799 DUI crashes in 2017, which is higher than the national average adjusted for population. The 25-29-year-old age group saw the highest rates of DUI crashes, followed closely by those 55-59 years old.
Between 2003 and 2012, 8,476 people were killed in DUI crashes in Florida. Curiously, men are about twice as likely to die in DUI related car accidents than women in Florida.
Florida is a Great State for Recovery
Although Florida has a significant drug and alcohol problem as a state, it is also a great place to get clean. The climate is wonderfully supportive of those trying to make big changes in their life year-round. If you’re wondering where to start your search for a trustworthy and supportive rehab in Florida to kick your habit for good, give Transitions Recovery Program a call today at 800-626-1980. We’d love to talk to you about what you’re looking for and how we can help.