Author: Justin Mckibben
Sometimes new policy can be good. Sometimes, not so much.
The opiate epidemic in America has hit some states with staggering rates of overdose and death. The paralyzing truth gripping the nation today is that more people are dying from drug overdose than homicides and car crashes. Heroin, fentanyl and prescription painkillers collectively decimate entire communities. People from all over are starting to push officials and lawmakers for more progressive and effective solutions.
Addiction has led to an overdose outbreak that shakes the country to the core, everywhere. Now, Florida lawmakers are pushing for new legislation to try and protect and serve those who suffer from an overdose. One of the first bills on the 2017 agenda is one that hopes to change how law enforcement treats overdose victims.
Although, another bill is trying to turn things in a very different direction.
Florida HB 61 Bill
Florida Representative Larry Lee, a Democrat from Port St. Lucie, has filed a proposal titled HB 61. If approved, this piece of reform would require several new policies for healthcare providers, starting with hospitals.
- It would require hospitals to screen overdose victims to determine the need for additional health care services
- Prohibits hospitals from discharging overdose patients to a detox or treatment facility until stabilized
- Requires attending physician to attempt contact with patients primary care physician, or other treatment providers, who prescribe controlled substances to notify them of overdose
- Requires hospital to inform medical director of treatment center (if patient is currently in treatment) of the overdose
- Hospital must inform overdose victim’s family or emergency contact of overdose
- Must inform contacts what drugs they suspect to have caused overdose
- Attending physician must provide list of drug treatment providers and information about Florida’s Marchman act and Backer act in case the family or contact wishes to seek legal action to protect the addict
The Big Change in HB 61
Lastly, what is probably the most progressive part of this legislation, is the HB 61 bill would prohibit criminal charges from police officers and prosecutors against the overdose victim for possession of any drugs found on them during the incident.
This final aspect of HB 61 this writer thinks is a big deal, because from personal experience I have seen and heard many stories of individuals not calling for help in the event of an overdose out of fear of prosecution. In some cases people actually die because of the fear of criminal punishment. Adding this kind of measure to the bill is an attempt at eliminating the loss of life due to fear of discrimination. Even if it is not a perfect system, this kind of reform takes first responders and law enforcement a step closer to dealing with addicts who are fighting a fatal illness like sick people instead of criminals.
Florida SB 150 Bill Attacks Fentanyl
From across the aisle we see another push from Republican Senator Greg Steube from Sarasota. The question is, will this push go in the right direction? On December 12, he introduced bill SB 150. This is set to be a direct attack on fentanyl.
For those who are not yet familiar, fentanyl is an incredibly powerful, and lethal, opioid painkiller. It’s medical use is to sedate surgical patients and relieve chronic pain. However, being several times more powerful than heroin, it has crept into the illicit drug trade in various parts of the country. And with its arrival also came a horrifying increase in overdose and death.
This proposal means to make 4 grams or more of fentanyl a first-degree felony through:
November 20, the Palm Beach Post released an analysis of people who died in 2015 from heroin-related overdoses. Out of the 216 individuals profiled in this report, 42% of the cases were found to involve fentanyl. So of course, with Steube coming from a district hit particularly hard by the opiate epidemic, it is logical to want to do everything you can to cut the flow of fentanyl off.
Yet, some say that this kind of strategy is too close to the concept of mandatory minimums.
Is SB 150 Too Close to Mandatory Minimums?
For those who need more clarification, mandatory minimum sentencing laws were a “one-size-fits-all” strategy implemented originally back in 1951 against marijuana, then repealed in the 1970s, and refined in 1986. In 1973, New York State enacted mandatory minimums of 15 years to life for possession of more than 4 ounces of any hard drug.
The idea is that regardless of the individual or the circumstances that a certain crime will have an inflexible punishment across the board. Ever since their introduction, criminal justice advocates have fought these laws, and they have always been surrounded by debate and controversy.
Essentially, some are already saying that SB 150 will ruthlessly make addicts into victims of the already overpopulated prison system. To be clear and fair- the bill does not seem to directly require a specific prison sentence like mandatory minimums, but it’s similar in that it treats every issue related to fentanyl the same.
The issue has already been argued time and time again that non-violent low-level drug offenders have spent excessive amounts of time in prison for possession of a substance. In some cases, an individual will do more time behind bars for possessing a large quantity of drugs than someone who has actually killed someone. Some have come to the conclusion that this tactic just doesn’t work.
The fear with SB 150 is not about the manufacturers or the dealers as much as it is for the consumers. Sometimes individuals purchase drugs on the street believing it to be heroin or another substance without even knowing there is fentanyl in it. So this bill would make first-degree felons out of desperate addicts?
What is Right?
The big question we all face at the end of the day is- what is the right thing to do? How is the best way to handle something that feels so utterly out of hand?
Well, it would seem like its time to finally let go of the archaic stigma. More states and law enforcement officials are turning to compassionate and supportive progress. Many places in America are starting to do everything they can to help people struggling with addiction to find help before it is too late. So why move backwards?
In my opinion, strictly based on what has been presented so far, SB 150 seems dangerous. There are countless advocates out there who say that intensifying the punishment is not how you deter the crime. Especially when it comes to addiction, because this kind of method still suggests it is a moral failing and not a psychological and physical illness.
HB 61 seems to be trying to call health care providers to action and add more accountability on the front lines in the fight against the overdose outbreak. At the same time it seems to move in the opposite direction of SB 150 by trying to limit the persecution of addicts. HB 61 makes more room to help preserve life and offer treatment and solutions. By now we should already know, the solution isn’t a War on Drugs, it is community and compassion.
These are some of the initial responses to recommendations recently made by the grand jury. Every day there are countless people suffering. And every day there are countless more recovering and fighting to help others recover. If you or someone you love is struggling, please call toll-free now. We want to help. You are not alone.
CALL NOW 1-800-951-6135
What Are Opiates?
Opiates refer to a class of narcotic drugs that are originally derived from the Opium plant but may be synthetic, or man-made. Opiates include Oxycodone, Methadone, Hydrocodone – basically, any of your prescription painkillers. Oh and of course heroin.
People take and abuse opiates because of their painkilling effects: decreased perception of pain, decreased reaction to pain and increased pain tolerance. Opiates produce a sedating effect as well as a strong sense of euphoria, called the “rush” or “high.”
What is Opiate Withdrawal Syndrome?
Abruptly stopping opiates will cause what is known as withdrawal syndrome: a set of symptoms that you will experience when you suddenly no longer have opiates in your system. These symptoms include: sweating, chills, vomiting, diarrhea, restlessness, insomnia, anxiety, depression, excessive yawning, runny nose, muscles aches, and more. The withdrawal from opiates is very uncomfortable and many people find themselves going back to using because they cannot stand the pain and discomfort. This is why an opiate detox should be considered.
Why go to an Opiate Detox in Florida?
Plain and simple: an opiate detox is the best alternative to going cold turkey and stopping on your own. It is a safer and more comfortable environment than say your friend’s couch. Many people seek an opiate detox in Florida because of its warm weather, sunshine, and beaches. Believe me, when you are detoxing from opiates, you will want to be in this kind of environment: comfort is key.
What is an Opiate Detox?
An opiate detox is a facility that provides a medical detoxification program to specifically help you get off opiates with diminished withdrawal symptoms. There is a trained medical staff at the opiate detox that can administer medication(s) to ease withdrawal symptoms and who monitor you while you go through the process of detoxification from opiates.
The 5 Steps of Opiate Detox in Florida
1. Admission to the Opiate Detox in Florida
The first step is checking into a detox program for opiate dependence. Assuming you have done research as to what and where the program for opiate detox in Florida are, you will follow their instructions for what to bring and when to come for check-in.
During evaluation at the opiate detox in Florida of your choosing, you will meet with a staff person who will take your social and medical history. This means that you will tell them about your drug use and health conditions, if any. You will also do a drug screen so that the medical staff can know exactly what drug or drugs you have been taking and the level or amount of those drugs that are in your system at the time of check-in. This is not done for legal reasons and you will not get in any trouble. It is necessary to do a drug test so that you can be treated properly during your detox process. And you will want the staff to know what and how much you’ve been taking so that they can treat you accordingly and make the process as comfortable as possible.
3. Meet with Medical Doctor/Psychiatrist
You will meet with a medical doctor to have the necessary medications prescribed to you for your opiate detox. You will also meet with a medical doctor to have any other medications prescribed to you if you have other health issues. Also, you will meet with a psychiatrist to be evaluated and prescribed any psych meds that you may need. Oftentimes, people who abuse drugs have a co-occurring diagnosis, also called dual diagnosis, such as depression, anxiety disorder, or bipolar disorder.
4. Stabilization at the Opiate Detox in Florida
During the stabilization stage of opiate detox in Florida, you will be given certain medications to ease the withdrawal systems that you will begin to experience. Stabilization means to regulate and maintain your condition. So that once you are on your meds, you will be kept at a certain level of medication and slowly tapered off so as to reduce the shock to your system of being without opiates.
5. Discharge from the Opiate Detox in Florida
Opiate detox in Florida can last from 4 to as many as 10 days, depending on the amount of opiates you had been taking and how you are feeling from day to day. You will meet with a therapist to evaluate your progress. The therapist may make recommendations as to continuing care such as rehabilitation so that you do not go back to using opiates.
If your loved one is in need of opiate detox in Florida, please give us a call at 800-951-6135
Step 1: The first step to being admitted into a drug rehab center Florida is to call the drug rehab center! They will be able to evaluate your drug use, determine if you need detox, check your insurance, tell you what to pack, arrange your flight and transportation, and more! A drug rehab center Florida has a lot of experience in admitting new patients. You will be given an admissions counselor who will walk you through the steps you need to take in order to be admitted.
Step 2: Pack your bags! The second step to being admitted into a drug rehab center Florida is to make sure you a properly equipped. The center will tell you exactly what to bring, but generally you should bring enough clothing for two weeks (most drug rehab centers will have laundry facilities or a laundry service.) Leave the revealing clothing at home, though. A drug rehab center Florida generally has rules about dressing in skimpy or tight clothes. Take a bathing suit though, it’s Florida! If you are traveling to a drug rehab center Florida in the fall or winter (October through March), remember that even though it’s Florida, there could be some cooler days or evenings. Bring a sweater or jacket and at least one pair of long pants. I’ve seen so many northerners forget to do this when getting ready to be admitted into a drug rehab center Florida! Also make sure you bring your wallet with ID and insurance information. Any credit cards are usually held by the drug rehab center, but they will allow you to use them for certain expenses while in treatment. Same goes for cash.
Things you should leave behind when being admitted into a drug rehab center Florida include:
- Drugs, alcohol, or drug paraphernalia
- Alcohol containing products such as perfume, mouthwash, or hairspray
Ask the drug rehab center Florida for a complete list of prohibited items. Fair warning: Your belongings will be searched thoroughly when you are admitted.
Step 3: Go to treatment! The third step to being admitted to a drug rehab center Florida is to actually go to the center. The drug rehab center Florida will be able to advise you on how to avoid heavy withdrawal symptoms on your way there. Some even advise you to use drugs or drink before you get on the plane or in the car. If you are very physically addicted to drugs or alcohol and you have a long journey, a drug rehab center Florida may send a detox nurse to travel with you.
When you arrive at the detox center Florida, you will be met by an intake counselor, who will then take over the admissions process. They will thoroughly evaluate your past medical history, social history, drug history, and physical state, and other factors to come up with the best plan to treat your addiction.
If you or someone you know needs drug or alcohol treatment, call us at (877) 711-HOPE (4673) or visit us online at www.palmpartners.com.
Florida has one of the most vibrant recovery communities in the world. Every year, hundreds of drug addicts and alcoholics flock to Florida to receive addiction treatment. Recovery centers in Florida have a high rate of success, and, because there are so many different treatment options available, it is easy to find the right treatment program for you. So why are recovery centers in Florida so unique? What sets them apart from other treatment centers?
Breaking an addiction is a lot harder than forming one. Are you an addict? Figuring that out and admitting that you need help is the first step towards recovery. Recovery centers in Florida can help you kick your physical addiction and make the changes that will help you lead a healthy and happy life.
Sometimes people addicted to drugs and alcohol try to beat the addiction themselves. This course of action does not have a very high success rate. Besides remaining in the environment where you became addicted, when you stay at home, you will still have access to drugs and alcohol. Further, if you are physically addicted to drugs or alcohol, withdrawal will likely be painful and even deadly. If you try to detox at home, you will likely relapse just to relieve the discomfort.
Recovery centers in Florida provide a secure, drug free environment far away from the stressors in your everyday life. They can provide a safe, comfortable medical detox, administering medications to relieve withdrawal symptoms. Recovery centers in Florida are also equipped to help you deal with cravings and psychological addiction after you are through the initial physical withdrawal phase. Without treating all aspects of the addiction, your chances of remaining clean and sober are very slim.
Recovery centers in Florida have some of the most highly educated addiction therapists in the world. They are qualified to treat clients who may have a dual diagnosis (i.e. anxiety, depression), or are diagnosed with other disorders and addictions occurring with their drug and alcohol addiction (i.e. eating disorders, gambling addiction). Recovery centers in Florida will assess your needs carefully and design a treatment program that is just right for you.
In addition to traditional one-on-one and group therapy, recovery centers in Florida offer alternative therapies. Recovery centers in Florida recognize that addiction is not just a physical ailment; it affects your body, mind, and spirit. Recovery centers in Florida are designed to treat all aspects of this 3-fold disease. They have a holistic approach to addiction, offering a variety of treatments like acupuncture, meditation, yoga, tai chi, massage, art therapy, equine therapy, and nutritious food.
Recovery centers in Florida also offer relapse prevention. They will introduce you to 12-step programs and help you form a support group for when you leave treatment. In therapy, you will learn to identify things in your environment that may trigger you to use drugs or drink. Recovery centers in Florida will teach you how to avoid or deal with triggers once you leave treatment.
If you or someone you know needs drug or alcohol treatment at a recovery center in Florida, call us at (877) 711-HOPE (4673) or visit us online at www.palmpartners.com.