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Florida Drug Detox Centers Can't Expand Fast Enough to Meet Demand
A report from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement shows that in the first six months of 2007, prescription drugs caused 75 percent of all drug deaths. The state’s prescription drug death toll has been rising for nearly a decade, and deaths from prescription drugs now exceed deaths from all other drugs combined, and surpass even traffic fatalities. These depressing statistics are driving state and county officials to increase the availability of publicly-funded Florida drug detox facilities, particularly in the hard-hit southwest.
The two counties with the highest percentage of drug deaths in Florida – 20-plus deaths per 100,000 population – are Monroe County in the extreme southwest and Brevard county in the northeast. An array of 15 more counties, from Palm Beach in the southeast to Holmes County in the extreme northwest, are experiencing drug-related deaths in the 13 to 17 per 100,000 range. Thirty more counties all over the state have 8 to 13 deaths per 100,000 population, and the balance of 18 counties located across the state including Miami-Dade in the south up to Gadsden County in the north are among the lowest, with 3 to 8 deaths per 100,000.
The majority of prescription drug abuse problems seen in Florida drug detox facilities stem from illegally obtained prescription or other drugs, but a significant percentage of patients became dependent or addicted using their own legitimate prescriptions. Prescription drug addiction, dependency and abuse have meant significant changes in the methods used at Florida drug detox centers which, in the past, have dealt exclusively with traditional street drugs such as cocaine, heroin and methamphetamines.
Most prescription drug addictions involve opioid painkillers such as OxyContin, hydrocodone and methadone. Other risky drugs frequently seen in Florida drug detox centers include any of the vast array of anti-anxiety drugs called benzodiazepines, which include such drugs as Valium, Librium, Klonopin and Xanax. The newer “non-benzodiazepine” sleep-aid drugs that mimic the effects of benzos, such as Ambien, Sonata and Lunesta, are also causing problems.
In spite of the expansion of publicly-funded Florida drug detox patient beds, recent media reports say there are still waiting lists resulting in addicts suffering through painful withdrawals in hospital emergency rooms and even jail cells. So far there’s no let-up in sight for the prescription drug epidemic in Florida, or a solution to the shortage of beds in tax-supported facilities. However, for those with the desire to get better now, privately operated Florida drug detox program centers can offer a medical drug detox for any prescription drug addiction.
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