Opioid Treatment in Florida


Because opioids are such a significant problem in Florida, there are many treatment options available. When it comes to treating opioid addiction in Florida, there is no one way. An option that is becoming very popular should be classified as harm reduction instead of treatment. It is known as MAT or Medication-Assisted Treatment.

MAT is the newest form of "treatment," which is specific to opioid addiction. At its core, MAT consists of giving the person replacement medications to maintain their opioid dependence, usually for life. Instead of committing crimes daily by obtaining and using Heroin, people with severe opioid addictions can get a prescription pill instead. Taken regularly, the person will not need to use Heroin to feel okay. This may result in fewer overdose deaths or less risk of infectious diseases among opioid users.

There are other options for those looking for rehabilitation, which means being restored to their former state or capacity. Many twelve-step programs are drug-free, meaning they do not use replacement drugs or narcotics outside of helping the person through the harsh withdrawal period. These have been the standard form of treatment for most forms of substance abuse for several decades.

Another option for people looking to be completely drug-free is holistic treatment programs. These are usually longer and more intensive but have unparalleled success rates among people who relapse frequently or have struggled with other treatment models.

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Addiction to opioids occurs rapidly and begins with a phenomenon known as tolerance. When taking an addictive drug like opioids, they create such an effect on the system that the body is forced to make significant adjustments. For example, because they slow the heart rate to dangerous levels, the body adjusts its chemistry to increase its heart rate in response. This process is known as homeostasis and is continual in all of us.

As the drug is used more and more, this becomes the new "norm," and it stops working as well. The body's baseline is now an intoxicated state, so it takes greater amounts to produce a noticeable chemical change. The person seeking a "high" will keep using more and only feel normal after a while.

Tolerance gives way to dependence because now the person will feel abnormal when they don't have the drug. The baseline becomes disrupted when the person stops taking opioids or takes less than normal. They will actually feel ill and suffer physiological responses that are incredibly painful and uncomfortable. Insomnia, pain, muscular cramping and vomiting are just a few of the symptoms of opioid withdrawal. This process is excruciating and can go on for days. If the person continues to take opioids to address these symptoms, they are well on their way to being addicted.

Florida Opioid Penalties

Because there are so many different opioids and they vary in potency and legality, there is no one penalty associated with possessing and abusing opioids. These drugs are all listed by the Controlled Substances Act in what is known as a "schedule." Scheduling is the process of listing substances in order of how dangerous they are and how useful they may be medically. Drugs that are more dangerous and less useful are scheduled higher and have stiffer penalties. Schedule I drugs like Heroin are entirely illegal and have no current medical use.

Further down the list, drugs like Codeine are less controlled and are available by prescription only. No opioid is currently available in Florida without a prescription.

Under Florida Statutes Section 893.13, possession of most controlled substances, including opioid drugs without a prescription and Heroin, may be charged as a felony. This charge assumes that the controlled substance has an illegal nature, the person has knowledge of the drug, and that the defendant controls the drug (e.g., the drugs were on the defendant's body or in a container held by the defendant).

Penalties for possession of such drugs can be charged from a third-degree felony to a first-degree felony. For a third-degree felony, convicted individuals face up to 5 years in prison and up to $5,000 in fines.

Florida Opioid Statistics

Nearly 68% of the 4,698 reported drug overdose deaths in Florida involved opioids in 2018, a total of 3,189 fatalities.

  • Deaths involving synthetic opioids other than methadone (mainly fentanyl and fentanyl analogs) remained stable but high, with 2,091 in 2018. 
  • Deaths involving heroin and prescription opioids also remained steady, with a respective 689 and 1,282 reported in 2018.

In 2018, Florida providers wrote 53.7 opioid prescriptions for every 100 persons, compared to the average U.S. rate of 51.4 prescriptions. This is the lowest rate since 2006 when this data became available.

List of Medical Detox Programs for Narcotic Abuse in Florida

Here is a list of medical detox for opioid addiction in Florida. The list can be incomplete, so please do not hesitate to contact one of our treatment specialists at 1-800-304-2219.


Marcel Gemme, DATS

Marcel Gemme, DATS


on December 21, 2021

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Marcel Gemme has been helping people struggling with addiction for over 19 years. He first started as an intake counselor for a drug rehabilitation center in 2000. During his 5 years as an intake counselor, he helped many addicts get the treatment they needed. He also dealt with the families and friends of those people; he saw first-hand how much strain addiction puts on a family and how it can tear relationships apart. With drug and alcohol problems constantly on the rise in the United States and Canada, he decided to use the Internet as a way to educate and help many more people in both those countries. This was 15 years ago. Since then, Marcel has built two of the largest websites in the U.S. and Canada which reach and help millions of people each year. He is an author and a leader in the field of drug and alcohol addiction. His main focus is threefold: education, prevention and rehabilitation. To this day, he still strives to be at the forefront of technology in order to help more and more people. He is a Licensed Drug and Alcohol Treatment Specialist graduate with Honours of Stratford Career Institute. Marcel has also received a certificate from Harvard for completing a course entitled The Opioid Crisis in America and a certificate from The University of Adelaide for completing a course entitled AddictionX: Managing Addiction: A Framework for Succesful Treatment.

Michael Leach, CCMA

Michael Leach, CCMA

Medically Reviewed

on December 21, 2021

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Michael Leach is a Certified Clinical Medical Assistant, who has over 5 years of experience working in the field of addiction. He spent his career working under the board-certified Addictionologist Dr. Rohit Adi. His experience includes working with families during their loved one’s stay in treatment, helping those with substance abuse issues find treatment, and teaching life skills to patients in a recovery atmosphere. Though he has worked in many different areas of rehabilitation, the majority of his time was spent working one on one with patients who were actively withdrawing from drugs. Withdrawal and the fear of going through it is one biggest reason why an addict continues to use and can be the most difficult part of the rehabilitation process. His experience in the withdrawal atmosphere has taught him that regardless of what approach a person takes to get off drugs, there are always mental and emotional obstacles that need to be overcome. He believes having someone there to help a person through these obstacles can make all the difference during the withdrawal process.