Where should you go for help if you're living with an addiction in Miami Gardens, Florida? It's not the easiest question to answer.
An addiction is a physical illness that is caused by drug-induced alterations in brain chemistry. Those brain changes drive the cravings you feel, and the cravings alter your behavior. Since addictions are medical in nature, it seems to make sense to head to a doctor for help. But unfortunately, not all the doctors in Miami Gardens have the licenses required to treat people with addictions.
This guide will introduce you to some of the state-funded and nonprofit organizations that offer addiction treatment help either within or close to Miami Gardens. This guide also includes information about the scope of addiction in the area, so you can understand how your community is dealing with the drug abuse problem.
This is a list of nonprofit and state-run organizations located within your area, but it is not an exhaustive list. If you do not see an organization in this list that you would like to work with, there may be others in the community that aren't mentioned here that can help.
The entire state of Florida is dealing with a crisis brought about by prescription painkillers. In fact, according to the Office of National Drug Control Policy, the category most often cited by people entering drug treatment programs in Florida is "other opiates." In 2011 alone, about 40 percent of all admissions to treatment related to non-heroin opiates, like painkillers.
Popular painkillers include:
People in Miami Gardens might buy the drugs they need from dealers, or they may steal drugs from their friends and family members. People may also feign illness in order to get the drugs they want.
Addictions tend to build over time, and that often means that people addicted to painkillers need to transition to another substance. As the addiction strengthens, the amount of drugs they may need to take to achieve a high might be impossible to get. When that happens, transitioning to heroin can seem reasonable. It works on the same receptors, is often cheaper, and is easy to get.
According to the Miami Herald, there were 33 heroin-related deaths in Miami-Dade Count in 2012 compared to just 15 in 2011. That jump of 120 percent is alarming, and it seems to indicate that there are many people in Miami Gardens who are moving from the abuse of painkillers to the abuse of heroin.
Drug-taking is often considered a solitary activity, but research suggests that many people who take drugs in Miami Gardens do so out in the public where anyone can see them. According to the Healthy Community Partnership, there were 13 open-air drug markets in public places in Miami Gardens in 2015. None were recorded the year prior.
These open markets pose a big risk to your sobriety. They make purchasing drugs very easy, which could imperil your ability to stay sober. Seeing people buying and using drugs can trigger the cravings center in your brain, prompting you to seek out those drugs even if parts of your brain know this is a bad idea.
While anyone who lives in Miami Gardens might be tempted to abuse drugs, research cited by the Miami Herald suggests that opioid addiction is a very big problem for people in their late 20s and early 30s. These young people are just setting up their own houses and building their own lives, and their use and abuse of drugs could make their whole future a little dim.
Since young people are most closely associated with drug abuse in Miami Gardens, the spaces in which young people congregate could become hot spots of drug activity. Bars, sports arenas, and other similar locations could be dangerous for people with an addiction.
Using drugs in public can seem smart at times because it offers you the opportunity to get help if you overdose. People who take doses of drugs that are too high can overwhelm their bodies and slip into death in just minutes. Medications can stop the process before death takes hold, but that medication must be given quickly before it is too late. Taking drugs in public can mean someone who can help may be nearby if something goes wrong.
Unfortunately, according to the Miami-Dade Drug Epidemiology Network, people who overdose in Florida are often sent home from the hospital with no referral for further drug addiction treatment. That means people could miss out on an opportunity to become introduced to care when they are motivated to take advantage. That could lead to years of additional drug use.
Whether you have overdosed in Miami Gardens and didn't get help, or you are hoping to get help now before you ever overdose, there is hope. With comprehensive treatment you can achieve sobriety and go on to live a long, healthy life in recovery.
Alcohol and Substance Abuse Services. Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Miami, Inc.
Jackson Community Mental Health Center. Jackson Health System.
Substance Abuse. Jessie Trice Community Health Center, Inc.
Substance Abuse. Banyan Health Systems.
Meetings. Alcoholics Anonymous, Miami-Dade Intergroup.
ACCESS Florida. Florida Department of Children and Families.
Florida Drug Control Update. Office of National Drug Control Policy.
Report: Heroin Epidemic in South Florida. (November 2015). Miami Herald.
Community Action Plan. (October 2015). Live Healthy Miami Gardens.
Five Numbers That Define Miami-Dade's Battle with Opioid Addiction. (July 2017). Miami Herald.
Rx Opioid Poisoning Hospital Cases. (June 2015). Miami-Dade Drug Epidemiology Network.