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Substance Abuse Treatment and Recovery in Florida

Someone’s first thought of Florida is usually its sunshine, pristine white sandy beaches, and popular vacation spots. Florida is known as the Sunshine State, and it does not disappoint with all that it has to offer. Unfortunately, despite its natural beauty, the addiction epidemic has significantly affected the state. Addiction and overdose continue to put a damper on the sunshine throughout the state. 

Addiction is a chronic disease, but it can be treated with proper care by counselors and addiction specialists. If you or someone you love is struggling with addiction in Florida, you must learn more about your addiction treatment options that are available throughout the state.

Substance Abuse in Florida

Florida boasts a diverse culture of people who hail from cities and countries from all over the world. Due to its low taxes and high quality of living, many people look to Florida to continue growing in their lives. Despite being close to the beach, no matter your location in the state, Florida has been hit particularly hard by the opioid epidemic. In recent years, the United States as a whole has experienced a spike in overdose deaths.

The increase in overdose deaths is largely in part because of the synthetic opioid fentanyl. The drug is shown to be 50 times more potent than heroin and 100 times stronger than morphine. Fentanyl is commonly used as a cutting agent to increase the potency of heroin for drug dealers. When someone is not accustomed to the sheer strength of fentanyl, it can create hazardous situations that can be fatal.

Since the southern portion of the state is a major port of entry, fentanyl can flow freely through different channels. Between 2014 and 2016, there were 94 recorded overdose deaths where fentanyl was involved.

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What Is Substance Abuse Treatment?

Substance abuse treatment, which is routinely referred to as drug or alcohol addiction treatment, is a process that addresses many issues that cause addiction. These can include psychological, medical, and social problems related to substance abuse. Addiction treatment needs to discuss all matters relating to addiction. 

The purpose is to treat various issues contributing to substance use disorders. These issues can include medical conditions, mental health problems, past trauma, or any problem that fuels addiction.

It’s next to impossible to determine a single cause of addiction. It is due to the combination of environmental, biological, and developmental reasons. Addiction treatment must be complex and tailored to each person’s individual needs.

There are four levels of care in addiction treatment, and these are followed by subcategories that address the specific needs of the situation. The American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM), has outlined its definition of the continuum of care. The organization also lists the criteria it uses to determine the appropriate level of care for someone who’s battling an addiction. Those requirements are as follows:

  • Medical detoxification: Detox, which is also referred to as medically managed intensive inpatient services, is considered the most intensive level of addiction treatment. It requires 24 hours of care from clinicians, and it can last from three to seven days. The process is challenging, but withdrawal symptoms can be treated with medication. The staff is available to help you overcome dangerous complications that may arise. Detox is necessary for those who have other medical conditions requiring ongoing care.
  • Residential services: Residential is considered the second most intensive level of care. It requires medical or clinical monitoring 24 hours a day, seven days per week. If you are dealing with ongoing mental or physical concerns, you will be monitored to ensure your safety as you initiate treatment.
  • Intensive outpatient: Intensive outpatient, which also goes by IOP, involves more than nine hours of clinical services each week. You may attend a schedule similar to your workweek. You will also participate in various therapies, including individual, group, or family therapy.

Once you’ve completed treatment, you will likely be connected to an aftercare program that provides services to help you maintain long-term sobriety.

What to Look for in Substance Abuse Treatment

Treatment programs exist nationwide, but not all practice the same effective treatment methods that facilitate long-term sobriety. If you are looking for an addiction treatment program in Florida, it may be overwhelming to find the right option for you. 

Fortunately, the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) created a list of principles that highlight an effective treatment plan. Many of the principles are becoming industry standard, and when you are searching for a treatment that fits your needs, it is crucial. Make sure to look for the following factors:

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  • Addiction is a chronic, treatable disease. What was once viewed as a bad habit, is now seen as a chronic disease that affects the brain. A treatment facility must address addiction as a disease that can be treated with therapy and medications.
  • Treatment must be individualized. No single option will work for everyone because various underlying causes lie at the root of addiction. These must be addressed for treatment to be effective. It’s imperative to a tailored approach is used that focuses on a person’s specific needs. You must sit down with a therapist and create a custom plan that is reassessed regularly. 
  • Treatment must address multiple needs. For treatment to be effective, it must address more than a substance use disorder. Unaddressed issues will lead to relapse once treatment concludes. It must discuss medical, social, psychological, financial, and legal problems.
  • Treatment must last long enough. The length of time someone spends in treatment is going to vary according to specific needs. Studies indicate that 90 days from start to finish is the ideal minimum amount of time.

Behavioral therapies are recommended. There are several different types of treatment options and therapy types to take advantage of, but behavioral therapies are the most common. These therapies are designed to help people in recovery get clear on their goals and increase their motivation to achieve sobriety, all while keeping the client engaged in their treatment. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is the most successful option in addiction treatment.


National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2019, January 29). Overdose Death Rates. Retrieved from

American Society of Addiction Medicine. (n.d.). Retrieved from

National Institute on Drug Abuse. (n.d.). How long does drug addiction treatment usually last? Retrieved from

National Institute on Drug Abuse. (n.d.). Behavioral Therapies. Retrieved from

(2019, March 16). Cognitive behavioral therapy. Retrieved from

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