Drug Overdose Rates in Florida on the Rise

Last Updated: September 25, 2023

Florida has suffered one of the highest spikes in death due to drug overdose in the nation. A handful of states experienced an increase so high that it registered as “statistically significant” with the Centers for Disease Control.  In Florida, the rate was 22.7 percent higher in 2015 than the year before, making it competitive with Kentucky, Maryland, and New York.

When opioid addiction increases, more Floridians lose their lives to overdose. It is becoming such an epidemic that the average life expectancy for residents is trending downward. However, there is hope with drug rehab centers in Florida. We can help you overcome an addiction to opioids or any other substance if you take the first step.

Death Due to Overdose More Than Doubled in Recent Years

From 1999 to 2014, drug overdose in the United States nearly tripled. That is according to a study by the Centers for Disease Control.  In one year—2014—nearly 50,000 Americans lost their lives. More than half of those incidents involved opioids. Florida was part of that trend.

Although the rate of overdose deaths decreased in Florida between 2010 and 2013, the following year wreaked havoc across the state. In 2014, the Florida Medical Examiner’s Commission investigated 24,740 deaths. Toxicology reports showed that in 9,784 cases, drugs were present at the time of death. In 2,530 cases, drugs were determined to be the actual cause of death, a 22.7 increase over the previous year.

At the time, ethyl alcohol was the most common drug found in toxicology reports. Benzodiazepines were a close second. However, benzodiazepines were responsible for more deaths than any other drug. Cocaine, morphine, ethyl alcohol and heroin were second, third and fourth and fifth, respectively. The fentanyl problem was just beginning.

Fentanyl Now Poses a Serious and Immediate Florida Public Health Threat

Morbid Mortality Weekly Report says in 2015, the DEA issued a national alert about a newly identified threat known as fentanyl. Also an opioid, fentanyl is one of the strongest known synthetic prescription drugs. Mixed with another drug such as heroin, it is often fatal.

A lethal dose of fentanyl is minuscule compared to other drugs, including morphine or heroin. Users might never know that the drug they are taking, if laced with fentanyl, is their last. Unfortunately, and often unbeknownst to the addict, fentanyl-laced heroin is becoming more and more common.

The Orlando Sentinel reported in March of this year that 10 Floridians lost their lives to overdose on the same day in Palm Beach County.

In Broward County, 2016 saw 580 drug overdose deaths. Nearly all of them were opioid-related. In Miami-Dade County, the medical examiner’s office reported that fentanyl and carfentanil caused or contributed to 220 deaths in 2016 alone.

  • Fentanyl is 50 times stronger than heroin.
  • Carfentanil is 100 times stronger than fentanyl.

Fentanyl overdose deaths “significantly increased in the first half of 2016,” according to the Florida Medical Examiner’s Commission 2016 Interim Report.  In fact, fentanyl caused more deaths—704— than any other drug, and the rates are still climbing.

Floridians from all walks of life are falling prey to drug addiction. It is not just a cultural problem; it is a societal emergency. With the rise in opioid addiction and the tragic frequency of death with fentanyl or related drugs, freedom from addiction can literally save thousands of lives in Florida every year.

If you or someone you care about is suffering from an addiction to drugs, alcohol, or both, take that life-saving first step.
Contact us right now and learn about medically-assisted detox, residential treatment, and numerous therapies that put lives back together again.

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