Is Drug Addiction Treatment Really Accessible in Florida?

Earlier this month, a report was released by WalletHub that investigated and ranked states with the biggest drug problems in 2018. The metrics explored included arrest rates, overdose rates, the number of drug addiction treatment centers per 100,000 drug users, the number of people receiving treatment per 100,000 users, and more.

someone wondering if drug addiction treatment is really accessible in florida

Florida often ranked close to the middle in many rankings with some notable outliers. For example, Florida ranked:

  • 17th for drug overdose deaths per capita
  • 18th for drug-related arrests per capita
  • 21st for the number of teenagers who reported illicit drug use in the past month
  • 27th for the number of residents over the age of 18 who reported illicit drug use in the past month

Perhaps the most interesting numbers to note is that while Florida was 8th in the nation for number of drug addiction treatment centers per 100,000 drug users (one of the best performers in this category), it ranked 42nd in the country when it came to the number of people per 100,000 drug users who actually received treatment. In other words, though Florida has a solid ratio of drug addiction treatment programs available to the people who are living with addiction, the state comes in close to last when it comes to the number of people in need of recovery actually connecting with the treatment they need?

Why is this happening, and what can be done about it?

Prevalence Does Not Equal Access

There could be a drug rehab program on every corner in Florida, but if there are too many barriers to entry, there may still be more people outside those walls struggling with addiction than inside getting the treatment they need to heal. Why? Experts believe that there are likely a number of reasons contributing to the problem. Some of the most commonly cited issues include:

  • Money: Even with state and federal funding for public and private drug addiction treatment programs, the cost can be high. If there is no health insurance to help shoulder the costs, or if health insurance companies refuse to pay, it can put a heavy burden on the individual and their family, especially if there is no family available to assist. The good news is that there are often ways to find some part of the money through different grants, insurance, and more, but most who are in crisis due to addiction do not know they have that option and/or do not have the ability to push through this process due to the nature of the addiction disorder. The good news is that many drug rehab programs offer support
  • Work and school: If they are still functioning well enough to have a job or be in school working toward a degree, many people living with addiction feel that this goal is their priority and may not yet believe that their work/school goals are at risk due to addiction. Without treatment, it is impossible to stay functional consistently and to perform at one’s highest potential during active addiction, so treatment will enhance performance and increase the likelihood of advancement and new opportunities.
  • Family: Often, the concern that children or dependent family members will be unable to function or will be overly distraught at the loss of a caregiver who is struggling with addiction is a barrier to treatment. However, it is impossible to provide effective and supportive care while under the influence of drugs and alcohol, and being wrapped up in addiction makes it impossible to focus on the needs of others. In reality, dependent family members benefit when their caregiver is healthy, balanced, and able to prioritize their needs, and that can only happen if the addicted caregiver gets treatment.
  • Readiness: Sometimes, no matter how dire the situation may be to the objective viewer, the person living in active addiction may be unable to realize the severity of the situation and/or have no intention of making changes regarding drug use. In these cases, it is necessary to stage an intervention or to otherwise communicate the immediate need for treatment to help them move closer to health and wellness in recovery.

Do you and your family need help overcoming the barriers to treatment in Florida? Is it time to learn more about the options available to you and the services that can help your loved one in addiction to begin the healing process?

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