Drug Abuse in Miami Florida

Miami, with its vibrant city life and beautiful downtown area, is well known among vacationers for beautiful beaches, exciting entertainment and a vibrant nightlife. Unfortunately, among law enforcement, it is also known for a more difficult problem: drug abuse. Just a few years ago, Florida earned unfortunate nickname of ‘pill-mill’ capital of the United States. Florida not only prescribed more opioids to residents than any other state in the country, it had more deaths related to their abuse. The problem was so widespread that the state stepped in and began to regulate the distribution of pain medications, in an effort to clamp down on illegal use.

The immediate consequence of state intervention was positive: Florida saw a 17 percent drop in deaths attributed to prescription medication abuse in the first half of 2012. However, it masks a deeper and unintended problem: when drug addicts find their drug of choice unavailable, they often switch drugs. It seems as though drug abuse in Miami Florida 33013 has moved from prescription opioids to a cheaper and more readily available street drug: heroin.

Why Heroin?
Drug abuse in Miami Florida is a complicated by the fact that it is a source city. Most of the drugs that are imported and distributed not just along the Northeast corridor, but throughout the Midwest, travel through the city of Miami. Among the drugs most frequently trafficked are heroin, MDMA and marijuana. So, when state regulators restricted the availability of prescription opioids, heroin, widely available for drug abuse in Miami Florida, was considered an easy substitute. In Miami-Dade County, admissions to the emergency room for heroin skyrocketed from 227 to 308 in just the first half of 2012.

State officials are particularly concerned that teens and young adults don’t realize the very serious consequences of heroin abuse. It is highly addictive, often described by substance abuse professionals as one of the hardest drugs to quit. Users can also experience deadly health complications ranging from seizures and heart problems to sudden death.

Club Drugs
Heroin is not the only problem in the area. The so-called club drugs that are commonly available at outdoor festivals and nightclubs complicate drug abuse among Miami residents. One of the most popular is also one of the most dangerous: ‘Molly.’ Molly is a derivative of Ecstasy, an amphetamine with dangerous side effects that can include high blood pressure, a rapid heart rate, seizures, coma and even death. In 2012, Miami police reported that confiscations of Molly had risen 63 percent.

Drug abuse in Miami Florida 33012 has typically included cocaine and, despite a decline in the use of the drug nationwide, it remains popular throughout South Florida. So prevalent is the drug in the Miami-Dade County area, that emergency room visits for problems related to taking the drug were nearly double the rate observed nationally.

Although less in fashion, cocaine is no less dangerous. Cocaine interferes with normative brain processes, which means that as an individual becomes more addicted they begin to lose interest in other areas of their life. Over time, they crave the drug so much that they will do whatever they can to get more of it in their system. Long term cocaine users can experience severe depression, psychosis, heart attacks and, of course, death.

Marijuana and Synthetic Cannabis
The most commonly abused drug in Miami Florida 33147 is marijuana and synthetic marijuana (so-called ‘bath salts’). Over three-fourths of young adults (under the age of 25) who required substance abuse treatment presented with problems with marijuana. Nearly 30 percent of all visits to the emergency room for illegal drugs involved marijuana or synthetic marijuana.

One of the problems with marijuana use, according to substance abuse professionals, is that frequency rates have risen. It is not uncommon for individuals to present for treatment with a daily marijuana habit. For those who are substituting synthetic cannabis, thinking it is safer, medical professionals have even more dire warnings: it may be as dangerous as MDMA. Some side effects range from depression and psychosis to death.

As drug professionals scramble to meet the changing needs of the Miami area, parents and family members who have a loved one suffering from addiction are worried. If you or someone you know has a drug related problem, the best recommendation is to seek medical treatment. Drug abuse is serious and the consequences can be life threatening. Finding supportive professionals who can help is the first step in the recovery process.