Florida has ranked 11th place among the United States in regards to the regions with the highest drug overdose mortality rate. For a long period of time the majority of such fatalities were linked to abused prescription drugs such as opioid painkillers and benzodiazepines like Xanax and Klonopin. Following a major crackdown by law enforcement on illegal use and trafficking of prescription drugs, heroin has re-established itself as a primary substance of concern in the state.
The number of heroin related arrests and charges in Florida is increasing. In the past four years Florida has had an 87 percent rise in admissions to drug treatment centers for heroin addiction. After the recent tightening of the reigns around the prescription drug problem many addicts turned to heroin and instances of dependence on the drug have reached what is being called, “epidemic,” proportions.
While a pattern of heroin abuse continues to develop, treatment admissions for cocaine, both in its powder form and hard, crack cocaine form, have decreased. There is a pattern continuing to emerge that attests to the changing trends in the drug problem in Florida characterized by a revamping of the popularity of heroin as a drug of choice among addicts in recent years.
Trends for methamphetamine, a drug of dire concern in other regions of the country, have remained relatively less problematic in the state of Florida—while lesser known, more recently developed, dangerous psychoactive substances are popping up on the radar. Capsules distributed to buyers on the street under the guise of the name, “molly” (a slang term most often associated with MDMA also known as ecstasy), are actually being found to contain the similar but different chemical, methylone. As actual MDMA is becoming more scarce and less available, other new substances are taking its place in the club/party scene. In addition, previously unknown substances like cathitones and mephedrone (bath salts), and alpha-PVP (flakka) are reeking a new sort of havoc on the streets of South Florida.