Miami Gardens Drug Abuse Statistics and Local Treatment Guide

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.

Man with hat talks to support group members

Where to Get Help in Miami Gardens

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.

  • Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Miami, Inc. offers substance abuse help through St. Luke's Center. You can access 30-day residential care, outpatient services, or both. The staff can also provide an assessment and help you understand what program might be right for you and for your addiction.

    The program offers preferential admission to pregnant women, women with children, and intravenous drug users. Funding is available to help pay for treatment.
  • The Jackson Community Mental Health Center is part of the Jackson Health System, and it is a recipient of state funding. This organization offers care for both adults and children living in Miami-Dade County.

    There is an outpost of this program located in Miami Gardens that provides care for young people while the main center in Opa-locka provides behavioral health care for adults. Here, you can get an assessment of your addiction, and you can get care on an outpatient basis. There is a detoxification unit available if you need medical monitoring while you achieve sobriety.
  • The Jessie Trice Community Health Center is another organization that accepts state funds, and this group offers addiction services for adults. An outpatient program, which includes a day treatment program, can help people overcome an addiction issue while the residential program for women offers services during pregnancy, so women can get the care they need before the baby arrives. Women can bring children younger than 5 with them into this program.
  • Banyan Health Systems, another community-funded program, offers addiction care with an emphasis on co-occurring conditions. This means people with a mental health issue in addition to addiction can get treatment for both issues at the same time in this program. This organization offers a Spanish-speaking staff in a residential program, which could be ideal for those who do not speak English.
  • The Miami-Dade Intergroup of Alcoholics Anonymous provides an online list of all AA meetings happening within the area, and it is possible to restrict the search to Miami Gardens. If you use Alcoholics Anonymous meetings to help preserve your sobriety, this online resource could connect you with the meetings you need.
  • The ACCESS Florida program helps to connect you with programs that can help you cover your bills, pay for nutritious meals, and more. You can use this program to help you understand if you qualify for Florida Medicaid, which would provide you with funding you could use to pay for the medical care you need during drug treatment. This program can also connect you with community partners that offer a variety of services, including some that might help you to attain or support sobriety.

Assortment of prescription drugs

Popular Drugs of Abuse in Miami Gardens

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:

  • OxyContin
  • Fentanyl
  • Vicodin
  • Percocet
  • Dilaudid

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.

Drugged man sitting on floor in alleyway

Where Do People Use Drugs in Miami Gardens?

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.

You Can Stop the Cycle

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.

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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.