South Florida is well-known for picturesque beaches, pleasant weather, and a lot of drug activity. Its proximity to South America, many seaports and transportation hubs, and drug cartel activity in the area make South Florida a hotspot for drug trafficking and distribution. These practices inevitably make drugs more readily available in the local markets, increasing drug abuse, overdose, and addiction rates in the area.
Drug abuse impacts families and entire communities. It is considered a major public health concern in Florida. In 2017, Governor Rick Scott declared a statewide public health emergency related to rampant opioid abuse and high rates of opioid overdose deaths and addiction in Florida.
The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) reports that opioid overdose deaths in Florida nearly reached 3,000 in 2016, and rates were higher in Florida than national averages. South Florida residents struggle with high availability of cocaine, marijuana, alcohol, prescription medications, and novel psychoactive substances.
Drug abuse services in South Florida typically begin with preventative measures and initiatives striving to educate the public and reduce problematic drug use. Treatment and recovery services, as well as preventative programs, are hosted by both public and private providers within a wide network of community-based providers in South Florida.