Is There Really an Opioid Epidemic?

If you have watched the news recently, you have probably heard the opioid epidemic mentioned at some point.

There have been multiple instances of opioid overdoses and frequent drug busts as governments try to crack down. Even the President declared opioid addiction a public-health emergency. But, is it as bad as it sounds, or is the opioid crisis a result of people becoming more conscious of these drugs?

An Opioid Crisis Is Here

As providers of holistic addiction treatment in South Florida, we have been in the trenches of the battle against prescription opiates and heroin for many years, but the opioid epidemic statistics are on the rise in a bad way. In 2017 the number of opioid overdose deaths was six times higher than it had been in 1999.1 With a rise that drastic, clearly something has changed.

These numbers are not the only ones you should be alarmed about. Research has found that about 21%-29% of people who are prescribed opioids for chronic pain end up misusing them and about 8%-12% of people develop an addiction to their pills.2 Some people argue that the United States has a bad habit of popping pills to make everything better, and they may have a point. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the beginning of our current opioid crisis started because of a drastic increase in the number of prescription opioids being prescribed in the 1990s.1 While the intent of these prescriptions was to help people with pain, an unforeseen consequence was people becoming addicted to their medication.

Heroin is another cause for concern. An opioid originally used to treat pain, heroin is illegal in the United States for its highly addictive quality. From 2002 to 2013 the rates of heroin overdose deaths in the United States quadrupled with the biggest increases beginning after 2010.3 While more people have started to become addicted to heroin, their problems are probably stemming from an addiction to prescription pain pills. It is estimated the 80% of heroin users misused prescription opioids before starting heroin. 4

Florida Opioid Epidemic

Florida is smack dab in the middle of the opioid crisis and as a luxury rehab in Florida, we have seen just what damage they can do. Just recently, an opioid drug bust was made in Lee County that involved the arrest of 32 people for their involvement in the illegal sale of opioids.

The opioid epidemic in Florida is actually showing worse numbers than the national average. In 2017, Florida health providers wrote 60.9 opioid prescriptions for every 100 persons, but in this same time period, the United States’ average was only 58.7 for every 100 persons. 5 With more prescriptions out there, there is a higher risk of addiction. No wonder our West Palm Beach addiction rehab is seeing drug busts in our own backyard.

The opioid epidemic in Florida and across the United States has already taken too many lives and crippled our communities. If you or someone you love is struggling with an addiction to prescription opiates or heroin, get professional treatment immediately. Call us today at 561-677-9374 to get more information about Seaside Palm Beach and get started.


  1. CDC – Opioid Overdose- Understanding the Epidemic
  2. PubMed – Rates of opioid misuse, abuse, and addiction in chronic pain: a systematic review and data synthesis.
  3. CDC – Drug-poisoning Deaths Involving Heroin: United States, 2000–2013
  4. SAMHSA – Associations of Nonmedical Pain Reliever Use and Initiation of Heroin Use in the United States
  5. NIH – Florida Opioid Summary

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