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.
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.