Overall, residents of Florida tend to drink alcohol, use drugs, and suffer from addiction and mental health concerns at rates that are pretty similar to national averages, per the Behavioral Health Barometer: Florida, 2015.
Specific to Leon County, the Leon County CHA 2012-2017 reports that one out of every five residents in Leon County reported binge or heavy drinking in 2010 and that car crash rates related to alcohol abuse were higher in Leon County than the rest of the state (127 per 100,000 residents in Leon County versus 107 per 100,000 Florida residents).
The Profile of Drug Indicators for Tallahassee, Florida published in April of 2008, reports that cocaine remains a large drug threat in the region. Cocaine use is higher in Florida than in most other states, possibly due in part to its close proximity to the countries where the drug is grown and manufactured. Methamphetamine continues to be an issue as well, as the drug is produced in clandestine laboratories and for distribution.
Marijuana is a major drug threat across the United States, and this is no different in Tallahassee. Club drugs, such as ecstasy, GHB, Rohypnol, and LSD, are also popular within Tallahassee college communities and the nightclub scene.
Opioid abuse is at epidemic levels in Florida, as the Tampa Bay Times reports that opioid drugs killed around 16 Floridians every day during the first six months of 2016. Heroin and the extremely potent drug fentanyl are leading the death toll.
Treatment for drug abuse and mental health issues can literally be lifesaving; however, Leon County is considered to be a Health Professional Shortage Area (HPSA), and the low-income population is classified as a Medically Underserved Population (MUP). Residents often have to travel outside of Leon County to receive specialty healthcare services, such as substance abuse treatment and mental health treatment. Help and support are available, however, and there are many professional behavioral health services that residents can access in Tallahassee and Leon County.
Finding Help for Substance Abuse in Tallahassee, Florida
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) hosts a Behavioral Health Treatment Services Locator to help individuals find mental health and substance abuse treatment providers in their local area. This search tool lists both public and private providers based on type of services requested and location.
Private treatment facilities may be more accessible right away than public treatment programs. Public programs are funded by state and federal dollars, and often more limited in how many beds and openings they have as they are in high demand. Public programs are open to anyone who needs help even if they don’t have health insurance or the financial ability to pay for services.
In Florida, behavioral health treatment is provided through a community-based system of care managed under the Florida Department of Health (DOH) and the Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF) under the Substance Abuse and Mental Health (SAMH) Program.
Regionally, care is handled by one of seven Managing Entities (MEs), and in Leon County, the ME is Big Bend Community Based Care, which contracts out substance abuse and mental health treatment services to community-based providers.
Providers through Big Bend Community Based Care offer the following substance abuse treatment services:
- Referrals and information
- Detoxification services
- Outpatient care
- Inpatient programs
- Case management
- Peer-based support
- Recovery services
Florida DCF keeps a current list of licensed substance abuse providers for residents as well as a list of certified recovery residences that provide transitional services. The Leon County Health Department offers resources for Tallahassee and local residents as well.
Crisis and referral services for both mental health and substance abuse concerns can be accessed by contacting 2-1-1 Big Bend at any time of day or night. Nonprofit and community coalitions work to keep Leon County and Tallahassee drug-free and provide options for residents who need professional help for themselves or loved ones in order to keep the local community as healthy and happy as possible. The United Way of Big Bend is an advocate for the local community providing resources and information, for example. The Florida Alcohol & Drug Abuse Association (FADAA), Tobacco-Free Florida, Florida Suicide Prevention Coalition, Florida Suicide Prevention Hotline, the Leon County Responsible Decision Making Coalition (RDMC), and the Leon County Coalition for Healthy Youth all provide preventative and helpful resources for a healthy community.
Alcohol and Drug Treatment Centers in Tallahassee, FL
There are various strategies for the treatment of substance abuse, and one of these options may be what helps put you on the path toward recovery. Options for alcohol and drug addiction treatment include the following:1-3
Residential Treatment Programs
Residential rehab allows for a patient to be in an environment where they can receive care and have a specialized treatment plan in a stable, structured environment. It provides an extended stay in a facility with numerous intensive services available 24 hours a day. There are both short-term and long-term residential treatment options. This can be beneficial for those with more severe problems, including co-occurring disorders.
Partial Hospitalization Programs
Partial hospitalization programs provide outpatient addiction treatment services including therapy and access to medical care. Patients attend the program at least 5 days a week for 4-6 hours a day while living at home. These programs are best for those who have severe substance use disorders and do not need 24-hour supervision but still need a high level of support.
Outpatient Treatment Programs
Outpatient treatment programs can vary in intensity and types of services provided. They are less expensive than residential or inpatient treatment and are usually more suited for those with extensive support at home. Most involve individual and/or therapy.
Detox programs involve the clearing of drugs from the body. It may involve medically managed withdrawal to address the unpleasant and potentially dangerous side effects that may occur depending on the abused drug. Detox does not address the deeper issues that are connected to addiction and so should only be treated as the first step on the road toward recovery.
Recovery Meetings Near Me in Tallahassee, FL
Remaining on the path toward recovery from substance abuse disorders requires ongoing effort and support. In addition to detox and rehab, there are additional avenues you can use to help you continue to work toward sobriety, including aftercare and support groups.
Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) Meetings in Tallahassee, FL
One of the most well-known support groups is Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). Made up of men and women who support each other with the sharing of their commitment, experiences, and hope to work for the solution of their common problem. The group does not require anything for membership other than the desire to quit drinking. AA does not have a political or religious affiliation. It functions based largely on its Twelve Steps.4
AA meetings in Tallahassee include the following:
- 909 N Gadsden Street, Tallahassee, FL, 32303
- 4500 W Shannon Lakes Drive, Tallahassee, FL, 32309
- 2410 Monday Street, Tallahassee, FL, 32301
- Louis Catholic Church – 3640 Fred George Road, Tallahassee, FL, 32303
Narcotics Anonymous (NA) Meetings in Tallahassee, FL
Made up of men and women who have an issue with drugs, are recovering, and are working to stay clean and help others do the same, Narcotics Anonymous (NA) is a community-based organization. The only requirement for membership is the desire to no longer use.5
NA Tallahassee meetings include the following:
- Vietnam Veterans Clubhouse: 241 Lake Ella Drive, Tallahassee, FL, 32303
- Philadelphia Primitive Baptist Church: 840 Dunn Street, Tallahassee, FL, 32304
- TASC Facility: 3333 West Pensacola Street, Tallahassee, FL, 32304
- Faith Presbyterian Church: 211A Delta Court, Tallahassee, FL, 32303
- Tallahassee Memorial Behavioral Health Center: 1616 Physicians Drive, Tallahassee, FL, 32308
- Immanuel Baptist Church: 2351 Mahan Drive, Tallahassee, FL, 32301
- United Church: 1834 Mahan Drive, Tallahassee, FL, 32308
- New Beginnings Church: 8967 Woodville Highway, Tallahassee, FL, 32305
- Unity Church of Tallahassee: 2850 Unity Lane, Tallahassee, FL, 32303
- Greater Love Church: 524 East Orange Avenue, Tallahassee, FL, 32301
SMART Recovery Meetings in Tallahassee, FL
Self-Management and Recovery Training (SMART) is a community made up of mutual-support groups with a science-based approach to overcoming addiction. It focuses on self-empowerment and self-reliance and involves both face-to-face and online meetings. SMART Recovery provides practical tools and social supports to help members work toward long-term recovery.
Meetings in Tallahassee include the following:
- 2800 Shamrock Street South, Tallahassee, FL, 32309
Al-Anon and Nar-Anon Meetings in Tallahassee, FL
Two support groups for those who have been impacted by the addiction of a loved one, Al-Anon and Nar-Anon allow the sharing of experiences and provide steps that help families and friends of addicts make positive changes in their own lives—even if the substance abuser will not admit they have a problem.6,7
- Senior Citizens Center: 1400 N Monroe Street, Tallahassee, FL, 32303
- Tallahassee Memorial Hospital Behavioral Center: 1616 Physicians Drive, Tallahassee, FL, 32308
- Stephen Lutheran Church: 2198 N Meridian Road, Tallahassee, FL, 32303
- Immanuel Baptist Church: 2351 Mahan Drive, Tallahassee, FL, 32301
- CASA Building: 2410 Monday Road, Tallahassee, FL, 32301
- Tallahassee Heights United Methodist Church: 3004 Mahan Drive, Tallahassee, FL, 32308
- Health and Wellness Centers of North Florida: 1935 Capital Circle NE #200, Tallahassee, FL, 32308
- Louis Catholic Church: 3640 Fred George Road, Tallahassee, FL, 32303
- Killearn United Methodist Church: 2800 Shamrock Street S, Tallahassee, FL, 32309
To find online and local meetings, click here.
Legislation, Drug Courts, and Involuntary Commitment in Florida
There are two laws in place that allow family and loved ones to get help for people who they fear are unable to help themselves due to alcohol or drug abuse and/or mental health issues. The Baker Act gives families resources to get a loved one into a treatment program involuntarily if they are incapacitated due to drug and/or alcohol use. Similarly, the Marchmann Act works in much the same way for those struggling with mental illness. These programs give families recourse to help loved ones who need it and who may not be in the right frame of mind to seek it out for themselves.
Diversion programs and treatment services also exist within the legal and criminal justice system in Florida. There are also several drug courts in Florida that help people who are arrested and charged with nonviolent and drug-related offenses to get into treatment programs, often as an alternative to incarceration. Completion of a court-ordered drug treatment program may result in sentences being reduced or charges being dismissed altogether.
There are several pieces of legislation in Florida surrounding the crisis that revolve around the high rate of opioid abuse and fatal overdoses in the Sunshine State. In May 2017, Governor Rick Scott declared the opioid epidemic a public health emergency in Florida, and in September, a new proposal was introduced that would limit prescription of opioid medications to just three days unless dire circumstances require a seven-day prescription, US News reports. Limiting the time that someone takes a drug like OxyContin (oxycodone) may help to reduce the number of people who struggle with addiction to opioids, which often begins with a prescription for one. These drugs are considered to be extremely addictive, and even if a person takes them for valid and necessary medical reasons, they can quickly develop a dependence that may devolve into drug abuse and possible addiction.
The proposed budget would also increase spending on substance abuse treatment and recovery support services. Florida has a comprehensive Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP) called E-FORCSE (Electronic-Florida Online Reporting of Controlled Substance Evaluation Program) that requires prescribers of narcotics and prescription drugs, that are classified by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) as Schedule II, III, or IV, to record these prescriptions in the database within one business day of dispensing the drugs. This can help to keep people from “doctor shopping” and seeking out potentially dangerous and habit-forming prescription medications from more than one professional healthcare provider. It may also serve to let providers know of potential abuse, diversion, and drug dependence, which can aid in getting an individual into a professional treatment program when needed.
In July 2017, a law enforcing harsher penalties for the possession of the synthetic opioid fentanyl was signed into law that penalizes drug dealers and aims to eliminate trafficking of the dangerously potent drug, the Orlando Sentinel publishes.
Fentanyl deaths have been skyrocketing in Florida as the drug is used to “cut” heroin, often without the buyer knowing, which can easily result in overdose. In 2016, overdose deaths involving fentanyl jumped almost 100 percent over the prior year’s numbers in Florida. As prescription opioids get harder to divert and abuse, individuals may turn to illegal ones, such as heroin and illicit fentanyl.
First responders in Florida regularly carry Narcan (naloxone), which can be used to reverse the effects of an opioid overdose. Anyone can walk into a local pharmacy and pick up the antidote without a prescription, thanks to legislation opening up access in an effort to save lives. Florida protects its residents who call in and report an overdose from personal drug-related charges through Good Samaritan laws, which also defend individuals from liability when administering the opioid overdose reversal drug to try and save someone’s life.
Drugs, gangs, crime, and criminal activity are closely intertwined and a serious concern within Tallahassee and Leon County. For the past three years, Leon County has struggled with the highest crime rate in the state, the Tallahassee Democrat publishes. In November 2017, through an initiative called “Operation ALLin,” sheriffs’ departments in Leon, Gadsden, Wakulla, Liberty, Franklin, and Jefferson counties along with Florida A & M, Tallahassee, and Tallahassee Community College police departments, the Second Judicial Circuit State Attorney’s Office, and the US Attorney’s Office began working together to reduce illegal drug, gang, and gun prevalence and criminal activity in the region.
Through legislative, law enforcement, and local community efforts, drug abuse can hopefully be prevented and reduced. In addition, individuals battling behavioral health concerns can find resources and services that can support treatment and recovery efforts within Tallahassee through numerous community-based programs and services.
- National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2018). Principles of Drug Addiction Treatment: A Research-Based Guide (Third Edition): Types of Treatment Programs.
- National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2019). DrugFacts: Treatment Approaches for Drug Addiction.
- National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2014). Principles of Adolescent Substance Use Disorder Treatment: A Research-Based Guide: Treatment Settings.
- Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc. (2017). This is A.A.: An Introduction to the A.A. Recovery Program.
- Narcotics Anonymous World Services, Inc. (1986). Who, What, How and Why.
- Al-Anon Family Groups. (n.d.). What Is Al-Anon and Alateen?
- Nar-Anon Family Groups. (n.d.). What’s Nar-Anon?
It’s Never Too Late to Get Help
Take Action Now