Heroin, a Killer By The Thousands

The opioid epidemic is killing people by the thousands every year throughout Florida. It reaches all the way from Broward county to expand into the whole entire world. The crisis that is killing so many in Florida, throughout the United States of America and as the World Health Organization shows, throughout the whole world. 118 thousand people dying due to opioid related matters in 160 thousand is a jaw dropping 74% of the people who died due to a drug related incidents in 2016 who succumbed to death because of opioids.


Opioids are a real threat to humanity. For a long time the most commonly talked about, and one of the most dangerous, was heroin. It was a popular drug to start using after prescription opioids lost their luster due to an the way opioids skyrocket someone’s tolerance. After a while someone taking a prescription opioid, especially in cases where the person is misusing the prescription by taking more than they are supposed to or taking them more frequently than they are supposed to be taken will plateau with the medication, meaning the person’s tolerance will outgrow the medication potency.

Opioids are tenacious and brutal in their addictive qualities and withdrawal symptoms, and because a large amount of people who are addicted to opioids suffer from a dual diagnosis or co-occurring mental illness, it is virtually impossible to recover from heroin addiction without seeking help. But because there is such shame attached to the disease, and because mental health disorders and addiction feed one another, people who suffer from heroin addiction, especially those with a dual diagnosis, all too often do not seek treatment, or are unable to get it for whatever reason be it socioeconomic or availability.

Hundreds of thousands of people die every year because of lack of heroin drug treatment. Broward county drug rehab facilities are equipped to deal with heroin addiction and are increasingly affordable to the masses as insurances begin to cover more costs of substance abuse treatment. Florida residents who are suffering from an addiction to heroin should call 1st Step Behavioral Health to learn more about the programs available to help treat physiological addiction as well as psychological drug or alcohol addiction.  


What is Heroin?

Heroin is a narcotic analgesic in the opioid family. That means it is a drug that alters the mental state of the person taking it while it works to lessen pain. Usually the drug comes in a brown to white colored powder that people ingest either by snorting, consuming orally, smoking, or mixing with water to inject into the veins. Heroin therefore comes with complications not just from the drug itself but from the way in which the drug is taken. If injected into the veins it can come with a side effect of collapsing veins or blocking the blood vessel, smoking it can lead to a deterioration of pulmonary tissues, and snorting it can cause respiratory issues. Along with the risks of the way the drug is consumed,there is the possible danger of what the drug is composed of. Heroin is often cut by the drug dealer in order to make the drug stretch, therefore making more money from the stash. Heroin that is cut with more additives is less white and lends itself toward the more off white to brown coloration. Consequently, if the drug is cut with something the effects of the opioid will in fact be less potent. This however does not take away any of the danger because heroin is often cut with truly terrifying substances. Some more alarming than others, however, all there to accompany heroin which in and of itself is a brutal killer.


Heroin is usually cut with:

  • Talcum powder
  • Rat poison
  • Baking soda
  • Caffeine
  • Flour
  • Fentanyl
  • Laundry Detergent


You would think that being frequently cut with substances such as rat poison, laundry detergent, etc would be enough reason for this drug to stop being of interest to the drug scene, however it is still responsible for a substantial number of deaths every year.


Heroin vs. Fentanyl

Fentanyl is a true super villain of the opioid family, killing enormous amounts of people every year. It is really lapping heroin in the news these days as far as the opioid epidemic goes. Fentanyl is so scary that the United States Department Justice Department created and sent out an informational video telling first responders just how to react and manage in the face of a fentanyl exposure. Some first responders have come into contact with the drug on an emergency scene due to an overdose or a crime scene in which the drug played a part. Some of those respondents complained of symptoms or side effects from the exposure such as tingling, and respiratory issues. One group of prison guards and inmates were admitted to the hospital after they breathed in an airborne combination of heroin and fentanyl.


Fentanyl is even more deadly and potent than heroin and was recently used for the first time in carrying out one of the first government sanctioned death sentences in the state of Nebraska. Not only was it the first time Fentanyl was used for this purpose but it was the first death sentence carried out in Nebraska for years. There has been a lot of controversy over the last decade about how deaths are carried out in states that still allow the death penalty concerning the drugs used for lethal injection. Fentanyl appears to have quelled those concerns – at least in that state. The power of the drug is shown in its effortless effectiveness in this matter. And that power is especially disconcerting when you take into consideration that fentanyl was originally developed for the purpose of getting rid of someone’s pain. It certainly should not be doing that by also getting rid of the user’s life as well. 


Even though Fentanyl is having its time in the spotlight, heroin is still in the background with fatal overdose numbers continuing to be devastating. And as prescriptions for opioid painkillers trend upward it is almost sure that the world will see heroin’s fatal overdose numbers climb as well.


Treatment is The Only Hope

At 1st Step Behavioral Health we offer a comfortable setting. When a patient’s everyday needs are taken care of and they have no need to worry over the stressors of everyday life, they are more able to focus on their drug or alcohol addiction recovery. 1st Step also employs a talented and experienced group of licensed medical professionals and qualified therapists to work with a patient as they overcome chemical dependency on a substance during medical detox and then throughout rehabilitation as they learn the life skills necessary to start a new way of living.


Unlike many other modern rehabilitation centers found throughout the country and especially here in Florida, 1st Step Behavioral Health uses only the most effective methods for ending addictions to all manner of substances and a variety of behaviors.

We will work closely with you to determine the best course of action regarding ending your addiction to drugs or alcohol through a customized rehab program whether it be intensive inpatient addiction control with residential detox or outpatient care with occasional group meetings and cognitive behavioral therapy sessions. We’re ready to help you quit the moment you’re ready to quit. Call us today to see what programs can help you break free from substance abuse.

Multi-Step Treatment Programs for Substance Abuse Treatment in Florida

Thousands of people in Florida suffer everyday from the chronic disease of addiction. It’s a disease that comes with a lot of social stigma attached to it. It’s the kind of disease that though manageable, it does not have a cure. However, if not treated and managed, drug and alcohol addiction likely ends in death. Whether the person’s death occurs over time due to persistent substance abuse that deteriorates various body functions and systems, or whether the death is due to a sudden overdose, untreated addiction will almost definitely lead to fatality.

When someone realizes that they suffer from a drug or alcohol addiction, and first begins to understand that they have a problem, the initial step to quit drinking or using their substance of choice must be to admit that the way they are using drugs and alcohol is not only an unhealthy substance abuse but, even more problematic, it is likely a chemical dependency and substance addiction on a far deeper level than misuse.


After admitting to themselves that they likely have developed a substance use disorder, in order to continue tip toeing toward recovery, the addict should start by speaking to their family or friends about their addiction. Externalizing the truth of their addiction in this way rectifies in their own mind what they already know and makes the truth of their addiction more real. If an addiction isn’t real and present in the addict’s mind, tangible to the person struggling with addiction, it will be impossible to benefit from any sort of treatment program. Talking with friends and family about addiction is intimidating due to the social stigma attached to addiction. It may seem scary to speak with loved ones about addiction and doing so, in all honesty, may result in some judgement depending on the person the addict approaches.

The best thing for an addict to do to safeguard against negative backlash which could lead them away from the progress they are already making,and deliver them back into the arms of solid addiction, is to speak with the friends and family they trust the most in order to find their support structure and ask for help seeking treatment. The people that the person struggling with addiction know will be their foundation until they can rebuild their own because they are trusted and loved friends and family who have shown themselves to be truly compassionate and loving. These will be the people whom the addict can trust to be a source of care and help throughout their addiction recovery.


The next step for the person struggling with substance abuse is to locate substance abuse treatment. Florida has many options for treatment. Some important things for an addict to remember when researching recovery programs is that the best treatment programs will shape the addict’s addiction recovery plan to fit their specific individual needs. No matter what kind of plan the addict ends up choosing, the very first step of any chemical dependency and drug or alcohol addiction recovery program is always medically supervised detoxification.


Medically Supervised Alcohol Detox or Drug Detox at a South Florida Detox in Broward County

Even though detox seems pretty straight forward, attending a medically supervised detox program is a vital step to recovery for an addict. When looking at programs it may become overwhelming because treatment programs are so varied and open to the unique aspects of what the addict is bringing as far as need and history goes. Though it may seem like too much, it is important to remember that even when talking about the somewhat straightforward nature of detox, every body will experience withdrawal symptoms differently. Withdrawal symptoms will vary depending on the substance that created the chemical dependency in question. But more specific to the persons struggling with the disease, symptoms will vary depending on how much of it a substance the person was taking habitually before going to detox, what kind of shape their body is in at the time of detox, along with other factors. Symptoms will range from moderate to severe depending on these factors. It is only under the close supervision of a medically licensed and qualified staff that anyone can be sure they are truly medically safe. Doing detox in a treatment center also raises the likelihood that a person will avoid relapse in the detox portion of recovery. Detox brings with it plenty of triggers and cravings. It is much harder to give into those if the addict knows someone is caring for them and has a stake in their recovery.


Residential Rehabilitation Treatment

Residential rehab programs are likely what someone is thinking of when they hear the word “rehab”. Many people find this aspect of recovery to simultaneously be the hardest and most beneficial time of addiction recovery. This phase is hard because in a residential rehab, the person is apart from their comfort zone. They leave their family and friends and spend time at a facility where there are others struggling with addictions just like they are, licensed clinicians who can monitor their physical wellbeing, and qualified therapists to help guide them to learning the life skills they need to rebuild their lives and start living a new sober life. Treatment in a facility  like this can last anywhere from 20 to 90 days, or longer for a few cases. Just like all things regarding addiction recovery treatment, length of treatment does depend on the person coming to treatment.


During rehab a person will start to do a deep investigation into addiction in general – learning about the way addiction changes the body, how the particular substance they were using changes the body and what kinds of long term effects the addict may be facing, depending on how long they were using the drug, and about the ins and outs of what brought them to the addiction. If the addict, for example, experienced trauma in the past they will have therapy available to them to understand how that very likely has contributed to their addiction. They will learn about what kinds of mental health disorders may be co-existing with their substance abuse to create a dual diagnosis, how the two co-occurring disorders feed off of one another, and the life skills necessary to deal with both disorders in the event of a trigger or craving.


Outpatient Continuing Aftercare and Relapse Prevention Therapy

Many people think about rehab as the last step in recovery. That is far from true. In fact rehab is only a small part of the recovery process. Rehab is there to teach you the foundational skills you need to move into something known as “active recovery”. Active recovery is hopefully where the addict will be for the remainder of their lives. Because addiction is incurable, active recovery is the state of being where a person struggling with alcohol or drug addiction has gone through detoxification and is clean from their substance, has gone through rehabilitation and is savvy when it comes to dealing with triggers and cravings, and is using the life skills they learned in rehab and continue to learn in outpatient care to manage the disease – maintaining control of their lives where as before treatment the addiction controlled their lives. Recovery for a drug addict or alcoholic never ends. There is always more to learn about oneself and there are always more skills to learn so that staying sober can become your habit, instead of the other way around.


An important aspect of sober living for an addict is after care. Continuing therapy after rehab is a vital way that addicts can be supported through the first few months of coming out of rehab. These are the most vulnerable for an addict. In order to prevent relapse during this time, one must take measures to safeguard against it intentionally and preemptively. One way to do this is to keep working with your rehab safety net through further outpatient treatment. Since you’ve been with the community through detox and rehab there will be an element of safety and kinship that can make these first vulnerable months  more bearable.

Not only that but in this time an addict will likely experience triggers they weren’t ready for, continuing group therapy, individual therapy and even joining a 12 step program can be a source of support and good ideas. Working with fellow addicts who are farther along in their recovery journey can bring a type of knowledge that few other resources can match. Making sure to continue taking an active role in their own recovery by setting up relapse prevention aftercare will bring an addict’s likelihood of continuing to live a sober life way up. Recovery doesn’t end after rehab, in fact it doesn’t end at all.


Florida Drug and Alcohol Addiction Treatment


At 1st Step Behavioral Health a person struggling with addiction can pick from a myriad of different drug or alcohol addiction recovery treatments available to them so a multi-step treatment plan can be made that addresses each aspect of struggle and need that is unique to each addict. Variety of treatment can range from outpatient to inpatient detox and rehab, long term and shorter stays in a rehab programs, different forms of therapy available, etc. 1st Step also has substance specific recovery treatment options such as specific alcohol rehab, or our heroin drug treatment. Broward county drug rehab at 1st Step Behavioral Health is your first step to recovery, no matter what your addiction is and no matter where you’re coming from.

Call now to learn more about how the rehab programs available at 1st Step can work for you or a loved one.

Oxycodone, A Common Killer in Florida and Across The Globe

These days oxycodone, sometimes called the brand names Percocet or OxyContin, is one of the most widely prescribed pain pills across the state of Florida. The Sunshine State is one of the easiest places to illicitly acquire opioid drugs, not only that, but they are widely distributed legally in the healthcare system in the state as well. This sort of availability has had devastating effects on the population; 16 people die in Florida everyday due to opioid related issues. That ends up calculating out to be almost 6000 Floridians a year lost to an opioid addiction that probably started with a drug like oxycodone.


Doctors may prescribe Oxycodone to the person who has been through surgery, has hurt their back at work, or gets a wisdom tooth extracted, all understandable reasons to need some form of medical pain relief. Oxycodone is prescribed for a myriad of different discomforts, chronic and acute in large number. According to CNN, “The number of opioid prescriptions dispensed by doctors steadily increased from 112 million prescriptions in 1992 to a peak of 282 million in 2012, according to the market research firm IMS Health. The number of prescriptions dispensed has since declined, falling to 236 million in 2016.” 


Florida is at the heart of this crisis in a big way. That’s why local and state governments have been focusing so heavily on putting measures into place to lower the tragic number of overdoses, fatal or not, in Florida every day.  Recent legislation, that was passed and signed into law by Gov. Rick Scott in July 2018, was a direct response to the palpable opioid crisis in Florida. According to an article from the Associated Press, Mark Fontaine, Executive Director for the Florida Alcohol and Drug Abuse Association says that the law is “ a pretty comprehensive approach to addressing the epidemic, It has education programs and helps control the measures for availability.” The new law is striving to address all sides of the crisis including the availability of drugs such as oxycodone. It creates more rigid limits on pain pill prescriptions. It also funnels more money into treatment for those struggling with the drug addiction.


The opioid epidemic national and international effects are just as difficult to read about as Florida’s. Indeed, opioids are in the spotlight right now not only in South Florida, but throughout the US and across the world. The amount of deaths the drugs induces has spurred attention from world leaders and the healthcare world. In 2016, according to the World Health Organization, opioids were responsible for almost 75% of the world’s drug fatalities. So many people addicted to more powerful opioids began their addiction with an honest and legal prescription. Many people who are addicted to Heroin and end up at 1st Step’s Heroin Drug Treatment in Broward County by way of oxycodone or hydrocodone first. According to CNN’s Opioid Fact Sheet:  

“Hydrocodone and oxycodone are semi-synthetic opioids, manufactured in labs with natural and synthetic ingredients. Between 2007 and 2016, the most widely prescribed opioid was hydrocodone (Vicodin). In 2016, 6.2 billion hydrocodone pills were distributed nationwide. The second most prevalent opioid was oxycodone (Percocet). In 2016, 5 billion oxycodone tablets were distributed in the United States.”

With the common knowledge of the prescription to illicit opioid slippery slope, those numbers of opioid prescriptions should strike some alarm in everyone’s mind.


Where did Oxycodone Come From?

Oxycodone, sometimes also known as OxyContin or Percocet, was developed in Germany in 1916 as a semi-synthetic form of an opioid. It’s an opioid that is usually prescribed in a pill form, to be taken orally. When taken illegally it may be taken orally, but many addicts will puncture the capsule or grind up the tablet to take orally, sniff through the nostrils or even injected into the veins to experience the high more rapidly.

Oxycodone didn’t take long to become a popular street drug. The drug, like most opiates binds to the pain, pleasure, and addiction controlling receptors in the brain in order to reduce discomfort in the physical body, and induce a sense of relaxation and contentment in the mind of the person taking the substance. With side effects like that, oxycodone was almost destined to become a hot drug on the illegal markets. Many people who become addicted to drugs or alcohol are looking for a calming of a tortured mind or relief from chronic depression or chronic pain (which leads to depression). A drug that can offer relief to both a person’s physical and mental trouble is hard to resist for anyone with a propensity toward addiction.


Heartbreakingly, oxycodone is a silent killer that kills young and old alike. It’s the kind of drug that seems safe because people are often first introduced to it in prescription form, but if abused it can slip an addict easily into overdose, and even death. If it doesn’t come to that, the rate at which opiates engender growth of tolerance in their users is aggressive, and it’s not long before a user will likely have to seek out stronger opiates to retain the feeling of euphoria or contentment that the Oxycodone gave them when they started using the substance. All opioids will offer that feeling of contentment and relief and all opioids will build tolerance in the drug user at an exponential rate. The stronger the opioid, the more volatile and deadly it seems to be. Opioids are killing hundreds of thousands people worldwide every year.


Doctors may prescribe Oxycodone to the person who has been through surgery, has hurt their back at work, or gets a wisdom tooth extracted, all understandable reasons to need some form of medical pain relief. Oxycodone is prescribed for a myriad of different discomforts, chronic and acute. According to CNN, “The number of opioid prescriptions dispensed by doctors steadily increased from 112 million prescriptions in 1992 to a peak of 282 million in 2012, according to the market research firm IMS Health. The number of prescriptions dispensed has since declined, falling to 236 million in 2016.”


Even though these staggering statistics feel so disheartening, there is hope. Bringing issues like Oxycodone addiction to the forefront will help researching scientists, political leaders, and healthcare professionals to see the real danger and create more legislation to safeguard against the abuse of drugs like oxycodone. Measures like Florida’s recent legislation are being taken throughout communities across the world. 25 states had already passed a similar kind of law as Florida’s when Gov. Scott signed the law.  


Oxycodone Treatment in South Florida

The development of addiction to oxycodone or any other prescription opioid can be a slippery slope from something that seems so innocuous into something really devastating. And though legislation cannot save those who are already addicted to the drugs, they don’t have to slip through the cracks. Treatment is available for oxycodone addicts, and can be the difference between life or death.


1st Step Behavioral Health can help people struggling with withdrawal from oxycodone and are here to make sure that their addictions are taken care of in a safe environment in a healthy manner. Treatment available at 1st Step treatment facility locations includes medically supervised detoxification while the user is experiencing oxycodone withdrawal symptoms, addiction rehabilitation treatment that focuses on personal and group therapy, as well as aftercare relapse prevention therapy. Call today to learn more about 1st Step’s rehab options.