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Drug Addiction and Treatment Options in Florida

Florida is one of the states with the highest rates of substance use disorder in the U.S., affecting both men and women. Data shows that more than 96,000 deaths resulted from drug overdoses in the United States in 2020, which is a 29% increase from 2019. Sadly, Florida is the second in the nation with more than 7,500 deaths caused by drug overdose in 2020, which is also a 37% increase from 2019.

If you, a friend, or a loved one is suffering from drug and alcohol abuse, it may make you feel helpless, but there is hope to recover fully. Let’s get into more detail about drug and alcohol abuse and the available treatment methods.

Drug and Alcohol Abuse in Florida

Florida’s commonly abused drugs are heroin, cocaine, valium, Xanax, fentanyl, marijuana, and prescription opioids. Florida’s prime location has made it an international drug trafficking area, contributing to the high levels of drug overdose among millions of residents. Those who don’t obtain these drugs illegally get them from health professionals and misuse them.

Also, data reveals that alcohol-attributed deaths were more than 6,000 in Florida between 2011 and 2015. Alcohol is the most frequently abused drug as adults binge drink across the state. Notably, the consumption trend increased from 2012 to 2019 by about 72%.

Signs of Substance Abuse

Below are some of the signs of substance abuse to look out for:
• Dilated pupils
• Hallucination, confusion, and delusions
• Secrecy
• Rambling or rapid speech
• Wild mood swings
• Paranoia and anxiety
• Drastic weight loss
• Isolation

Effects of Drug and Alcohol Abuse

Data from the CDC estimates that more than 100,000 deaths were due to drug overdose in the 12 months from April 2020 to April 2021 in the U.S. Most people use drugs and alcohol as escapes from reality. It all starts with a few pills or drinks after a rough day that gives a sense of euphoria. However, this use is just a short-term solution that seems to get you away from the uncomfortable feelings you are dealing with. In the long run, you start suffering from the significant adverse effects of substance abuse.

You can suffer from short-term or even long-term effects that may be irreversible. For instance, chronic drug use can change your brain’s structure and function. Also, some drugs, such as cocaine, can have lasting long-term effects on your body long after using them.

Some short-term effects of substance abuse include:
• Loss of coordination
• Increased heart rate
• Insomnia
• Changes in heart rate

Some long-term effects include:
• Increased aggression
• Depression
• Hallucinations
• Panic disorders

You may also have to deal with various health conditions such as kidney damage, cardiovascular disease, liver disease, and respiratory issues.

Treatments Methods Available for Drug and Alcohol Abuse in Florida

Treatment for drug addiction may vary depending on an individual’s needs. You can choose the addiction treatment based on the level of care you need, the substance you’ve abused, and your mental health needs. Below are some effective treatment methods that will set you on a successful path to recovery in Florida.

Drug and Alcohol Detox

Medical detoxification is vital for clients who want to break free from alcohol and drug addiction. This treatment works on the principle that when an individual is physically unwell, they struggle to tackle underlying mental issues. Detox aims at combating the physical side of drug and alcohol addiction by eliminating all traces of drugs and alcohol from your body.

The first step is a medical assessment during the medically assisted detox process. A medical expert gathers details on a client’s medical history and addiction to help develop a detox plan. During the detoxification process, you will typically experience withdrawal symptoms as the amount of drugs or alcohol is reduced gradually from your system. The withdrawal symptoms can differ from person to person. This depends on how long a client was addicted to a particular substance, the amount consumed over time, and mental and physical health.

Some of the most severe withdrawal symptoms that many clients experience include seizures, delirium, and hallucinations. Other symptoms include irritability, depression, anxiety, inability to concentrate, headaches, sweating, exhaustion, abdominal cramps, increased blood pressure, and diarrhea. Experts can prescribe some medications that help clients cope with these withdrawal symptoms. You can expect around-the-clock support at a rehab center for a duration that can take approximately seven to 10 days.

Since detox doesn’t treat a client’s underlying behavioral cause of drug addiction, a medical expert can recommend the following programs.

Short-Term Inpatient Rehab

Clients who don’t have a long history of substance abuse can opt for short-term inpatient rehab. This can be a much more effective solution than outpatient rehab because it’s a complete and intensive way of helping clients overcome addiction. Short-term rehab allows you to focus on personal issues and learn the best ways to deal with addiction to prevent relapse.

Short-term rehab can last for about 28 to 30 days, and clients receive hands-on monitoring and treatment. This rehab option is also less disruptive to your personal life, and you have an opportunity to establish a supportive and lasting community of counselors and peers during recovery.

Long-Term Residential Treatment

This treatment program usually lasts for three to six months, but it can even go to 12 months.

Usually, clients start the long-term rehab program by detoxing and then adjusting to a structured daily routine. As you continue recovering, you may get more freedom from visits from family and friends. Also, rehab centers use different treatment models, the most common being the therapeutic community (TC). In this model, experts view addiction in the context of a client’s psychological and social deficits. The treatment aims at developing responsibility and accountability. The goal is to ensure that you lead a substance-free life that is socially productive after the treatment.

Outpatient Drug Rehab

Under outpatient drug rehab, clients attend the treatment program during the day and then return home in the evening. These programs are less restrictive and usually require about 10 to 12 hours in a rehab center. The sessions entail counseling, drug abuse education, and teaching clients the coping mechanisms of living without drug abuse. Outpatient drug rehab also facilitates relapse management and helps establish psychosocial support. This treatment program can be a good option for clients with mild drug addiction. It can last for about three to six months with one to two sessions weekly.

Specialized Addiction Treatment Program

Several drug rehab centers in Florida also offer specialized addiction programs. The programs help clients learn the best ways to live sober lives. The programs can include:

• Gender-Specific Programs – As the name suggests, these programs are either male or female-specific. Male clients should participate in the all-male program that addresses insecurities and social pressures. Women are best suited for the all-female program if they have a history of substance use and violence. Gender-specific programs eliminate any possible barriers that may prevent clients from seeking treatment services for substance use disorder.

• Medication-Assisted Treatment – The medication-assisted program helps clients during their recoveries from addiction. The medications prescribed can lessen craving and withdrawal symptoms and prevent relapse. Also, these medications vary depending on the duration of drug or alcohol abuse or the substance.

• Dual-Diagnosis Programs – Clients facing mental health and substance use disorder can get help from dual-diagnosis programs. This treatment also helps individuals with bipolar disorder, depression, and anxiety.


Counseling or therapy is another vital part of your recovery process. An expert can recommend the following therapy options as part of your treatment plan.

• Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy – REBT sessions help clients recognize their negative thoughts and fight the feelings of self-defeat. Rational emotive behaviors therapy aims at helping you realize that the power of rational thinking isn’t related to external situations but within yourself.

• Cognitive Behavior Therapy – The cognitive behavior therapy sessions teach clients how to recognize thoughts, situations, and moods that drive up drug cravings. You will learn how to avoid these triggers and replace negative feelings and thoughts with healthy ones. This powerful treatment program helps you to stay clean.

• Dialectical Behavior Therapy – The sessions of dialectical behavior therapy focus on change and acceptance. Initially, experts used dialectical behavior therapy as a remedy for individuals who were suicidal, but they have since started using it for drug abuse clients. DBT aims to control substance use and boost healthy behaviors.


Recovery doesn’t stop after completing your treatment periods. You need to go through an aftercare program as part of continuous treatment for substance use disorder. This collective plan supports clients during recovery and helps them work on their new lives. In fact, studies show that when individuals go through aftercare, there are minimal chances of a relapse. Aftercare services also help you reinforce the skills of coping with strong emotions, identifying triggers, making healthy choices, and preventing a return to drug abuse.

Some of the aftercare programs include:

• Sober Living Homes – These can be residential facilities that provide stable and secure environments for recovering substance abuse clients. Sober living homes have drug- and alcohol-free settings where clients continue practicing coping skills. Usually, a leader creates and enforces rules such as participating in in-house chores, regular drug screening, and mandatory house meetings.

• Support Groups –You should also attend support groups while recovering from substance abuse. These groups discuss various issues, including how clients realized they needed to get treatment and how different medications impact them. You will significantly benefit from the several pieces of advice and information and a judgment-free atmosphere, and you’ll have an individual whom you can fall back on during hard times.

• Alumni Groups – Several rehab centers also offer alumni programs to former clients. These programs allow you to be in constant touch with your treatment team. This will help you keep up with your recovery goals, and you will nurture strong bonds even after the program.

Why You Need Help When Dealing With Drug and Alcohol Abuse

Studies show that compassionate care to individuals suffering from substances reduces the risk of harm. Kindness and compassion are critical, especially during the initial 18 months after participating in a drug rehab center. Here are some reasons why it’s essential to take time and help those recovering from drug addiction include:

• Prevent Loneliness – Clients recovering from addiction undergo several trials and tribulations, creating an isolating experience. People who they used to hang out with while using these drugs are no longer part of their friends. Interacting with other individuals gives them access to like-minded people interested in sobriety.

• Provide Distraction – When engaging in drug and alcohol abuse, most of your day is usually in the company of other users. During recovery, you will feel bored because the people you are used to are no longer close to you, and the passing hours may feel meaningless and empty. This dangerous state can easily lead to anxiety, depression, and relapse. Take time to help the recovering individual to provide them with a necessary rhythm to their new life.

• Increase Self-Esteem – Mostly, clients recovering from drug and alcohol abuse feel shame, regret, and guilt because of their previous years. By taking time to help other people, clients recovering from drug overuse feel they can still make a positive contribution to the world. This will also reassure them that the previous years didn’t go to waste.

Find Freedom Through Drug Rehab in Florida Today

If you or someone close to you has struggled with drug or alcohol abuse, a rehab center can help. Addiction is treatable, and the sooner you seek help, the less damage to your mental and physical health. Still, the road to recovery is not similar for everyone, and you have to accept some setbacks as part of the process. A drug rehab center has the right resources to increase your chances of recovery and gives you a chance to live a better life.

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Reviewed By:

Dr. John Elgin Wilkaitis

Dr. John Elgin Wilkaitis completed medical school at The University of Mississippi Medical Center and residency in general psychiatry in 2003. He completed a fellowship in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital in 2005. Following this, he served as Chief Medical Officer for 10 years of Brentwood Behavioral Healthcare a private health system including a 105-bed hospital, residential treatment, and intensive outpatient services.

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