Drug addicts around the nation are streaming to South Florida, enticed by assurances of recuperation in a paradise of sunshine and palm trees.
Many Florida treatment centers are agresively marketing in areas of the Northeast as well as the Midwest, areas ravaged by the opioid epidemic, authorities say.
One study discovered that three out of four individuals in personal therapy in Florida are from out of state. Providers entice individuals trying to find a clean slate then push them away after exhausting their insurance policy advantage benefits, according to a report from Palm Beach County.
Many of those individuals end up on the streets of our areas, returning to drug use and overwhelming authorities and hospitals, the report states.
Paramedics in Palm Beach County, as an example, dealt with 5,000 overdose calls in 2014. The area is working with extra coroners to handle the climbing opioid fatality toll, which jumped from 143 in 2012 to 592 last year.
In Broward County, opioids killed 582 individuals in 2014, and also Chief Medical Supervisor Craig Mallak has stated the figure is most likely to exceed 1,000 in 2017.
Clinical examiners in both counties claim they are having a hard time staying up to date with the bodies of people lured here by a growing variety of therapy centers.
Palm Beach County has the highest variety of qualified drug treatment service providers in the state at 217, compared to 134 in Broward County and 111 in Miami-Dade,according to am analysis of information from the Division of Children and Families.
In only two years, 76 brand-new licenses were released in Palm Beach County and 28 in Broward County. Miami-Dade County saw its number of licensed carriers fall by 11.
In the past, people who lacked funds or insurance coverage might look to charitable treatment programs, which deal with any person regardless of ability to pay. Yet the opioid epidemic has bewildered the system, stated Alton Taylor, CEO of the Drug Abuse Foundation, an openly funded company.
The variety of publicly financed treatment beds in Palm Beach County fell from 467 a decade earlier to 202 today, Taylor said. The number of detox beds — where a person gets clean prior to starting longer-term therapy — has gone down from 50 to 24 in 10 years.
Broward County remains in a somewhat better situation with 34 detox beds, claimed Silvia Quintana, CEO of the Broward Behavioral Health Coalition.
Still, individuals without adequate funds or insurance — unable to get into exclusive therapy– commonly wait weeks for a bed in a public facility, Taylor said. Some die before they can get help.
Kicked out of a halfway house and from alternatives, 30-year-old Patrick Graney went to the openly financed Substance Abuse Foundation seeking help.
A marketing expert encouraged Graney to go to Florida from Massachusetts in late July to attempt to defeat a 10-year dependency on opioids at a treatment center, stated his mother, Maureen.
When his insurance coverage expired, he found himself on the streets with nowhere to go, she said.
The Drug Abuse Foundation turned Graney away because there wasn’t a bed, and he died of a drug overdose at a neighboring hotel only hours later, according with a Delray Beach authorities report.
His mother is left to wonder if he had actually entered into that detox program, if he would have been on a bus home.