Opioid misuse and addiction continue to present challenges in Palm Beach County, including in the Village of Wellington, which is located in the western part of the county about an hour north of Miami. Opioid overdose deaths are a national public health crisis that has touched nearly all parts of the country for several years now, and the COVID-19 pandemic has worsened the situation.
A September 2020 article from The Palm Beach Post shed light on opioid overdose deaths in 2020, writing that opioid-related deaths had increased during the pandemic as people were forced to stay home in forced isolation. Per the report, numbers were going up anyway, but they started to spike in the early weeks that the shutdowns went into effect.
The 361 overdose deaths from January to August of 2020 were nearly 50% higher than during that same period in 2019. County commissioners and other officials were concerned that 2020 would have more deaths than the 446 deaths recorded in 2019.
Opioid Users Seek Out Heroin, Other Drugs
Florida, once known as the “pill mill capital” of the U.S., has cracked down on illegal use of these potent pain relievers over the years. Part of its response plan was to create a prescription drug monitoring program to address the problem of medical professionals overprescribing the medications. Overdoses continue to be a problem.
Per the Opioid Use Dashboard for Florida in 2020, provisional data show that nearly 13,700 suspected non-fatal opioid-involved overdoses occurred in the state through September 2020. Toughening up on prescriptions prompted some opioid users to seek out heroin to satisfy their cravings. However, many users use heroin that has been cut with another deadly opioid, fentanyl, a pain reliever that is 80 to 100 times more potent than morphine.
Fentanyl is made illegally on the streets and added to heroin, cocaine, and even marijuana in some cases. Officials believe this added ingredient has caused the opioid epidemic to escalate in recent years, leaving scores of people dead or fighting addiction.
Wellington Drug Rehab for Opioid Misuse and Addiction
As of 2021, more than 66,000 people call Wellington home. While it is nestled away in a quieter part of Palm Beach County, it is still among the many places in South Florida that are located near or next to entry points for large amounts of drugs that come in from neighboring countries. Therefore, the presence of drugs is around, and the possibility of relapse and overdose remains.
Law enforcement remains committed to keeping up efforts to keep drugs out and away from the streets, but this is challenging to do, given the state’s many harbors along the Gulf and Atlantic coasts. Per the 2018 Patterns and Trends of the Opioid Epidemic of Florida report, Palm Beach County law enforcement officials seized cocaine, heroin, and cannabis.
Florida Treatment Episode Data Set (TEDS), provided by SAMHSA, shows how widespread opioid use is in Florida. Overall, in Florida in 2019, heroin and other opiates led the drugs that people went to treatment for. Alcohol was the highest at 12,823, but after alcohol, 6,429 people went to rehab for heroin use, followed by 5,556 for other opiates.
If you are struggling with opioid use disorder (OUD) in Wellington and ready to get help, drug rehabs are available in the area that can guide you to recovery. The Palm Beach Institute, a Delphi Behavioral Health Group facility located in West Palm Beach, can help you start a new life so that you can leave misuse and abuse of opioids behind for good. Here, you are welcome to undergo medical detox and start considering treatment options to help you regain full-time sobriety.
MAT Is a Widely Used Treatment Approach
Treatment options for opioid use disorder and alcohol use disorder can include the use of prescription medications that have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). After you have entered rehab, undergone a medical detox, and had your physical and mental health needs assessed, addiction care professionals may recommend that you start a medication-assisted treatment (MAT) program.
If you have struggled to end opioid use and relapsed several times while trying to get off opioids, MAT may be the right choice for you. MAT is used along with behavioral therapies and counseling to treat the substance use disorder (SUD). MAT has many objectives, and all are designed to help the user recover from chronic opioid use, including longtime heroin users.
MAT Focuses on the Whole Person, Not Just the Addiction
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) supports the use of MAT, which focuses on helping the “whole person” recover from substance misuse. This means if you enroll and participate in a MAT program, you will explore how addiction affects you physically, mentally, and emotionally.
This treatment approach has been recognized for:
- Making withdrawal from heroin or opioid medications safer and easier to manage
- Helping people take control of their opioid cravings and learning to manage them
- Guiding people in learning how to recognize and manage their personal triggers
- Reducing chances of people relapsing and avoiding a dangerous or fatal overdose
- Keeping people focused on the commitment to lasting recovery and sobriety
The medications you receive in MAT could be Suboxone, buprenorphine, naloxone, and others. There are concerns that using these medications can give people another drug to become addicted to, but SAMHSA responds to this criticism by saying the medications relieve the withdrawal symptoms and cravings that make it difficult for many users to stay away from them. “MAT programs provide a safe and controlled level of medication to overcome the use of an abused opioid,” it says.
Also, MAT participants must agree to receiving ongoing medical care, finding employment, and agree to be monitored. They receive the support they need to meet to achieve their goals.
We Can Help You Review Your Treatment Options
MAT is available to residents throughout the U.S., including right here in the Wellington area. If you think medication-assisted treatment could be the right treatment program for you, consider getting in touch with our staff at The Palm Beach Institute.
We can help you decide what your next steps should be. Strong dependence on opioids is dangerous and usually will not resolve on its own without professional treatment. Our facility has been helping people recover from substance addiction since 1970. We offer various programs here, including an inpatient or residential program that can provide the right environment for you to concentrate on your needs. You also may be able to participate in MAT therapy as an intensive outpatient patient.
Florida Also Shows Support for MAT Programs
To rise up to the challenges of opioid addiction in the Sunshine State, officials have also supported the use of medication-assisted treatment. One state initiative, the State Opioid Response Project (SOR), aims to provide MAT services along with prevention that aligns with evidence-based practices and recovery support services.
Get Help for Opioid Addiction Today
Today can be the first day of a new life free of opioid addiction and abuse. You get to make that call. We can help you find your way. We are standing by, waiting to answer your questions and help you review your recovery program options at our facility. The sooner we hear from you, the sooner we can start working on helping you.