Geographical Boundaries

Last Updated: Sep 20th 2019

Reviewed by Brittany Polansky, MSW, LCSW

Substance abuse treatment in Florida is available to anyone who wants it, except when it isn’t. One of the biggest misconceptions about drug abuse and substance use disorders in America is that it’s primarily a problem of cities. Ghettos, crack houses and other cartoonish stereotypes flood a typical person’s head when they think about these things, but addiction doesn’t know what a geographical boundary is nor even what race, ethnicity, income, sex or age are. One of the problems facing the ever growing numbers of people with substance use disorder is lack of treatment access.

In most states, rehab and detox centers, including south Florida detox, typically are found in highly urbanized areas, away from rural towns with lower population density. This can pose many problems for those people, especially addicted to opioids who might have developed an addiction from painkillers prescribed by their physician, to find a reliable treatment facility to help them. Even in states where public transportation is more widespread such as California, though, it can be highly difficult for someone who has a need for rehabilitation to get there.

For functioning addicts living in rural areas Florida, who still have a job but know they have a problem and are facing difficulties with withdrawal symptoms, for instance and need professional help, the drive may simply be too far. If a person living far away has financial issues, even paying for gas or cross country bus (if it’s even available) can place help completely out of their reach. This lack of unified treatment availability has contributed to the exploding numbers coupled to the addiction crisis and to the over 70,000 overdose deaths in 2018, which for the first time in American history has totalled more than car accident fatalities.

Some states have began to implement ways to mitigate the problem, but help is coming very slowly. Some solutions have included basic addiction treatment training for hospitals in rural areas to help in early identification of people who might be developing a substance use disorder and to have available any available medication assisted treatment (MAT) drugs if available for those who find themselves in the ER room under overdose situations. Other states have begun looking at funding transportation to treatment facilities that lie far outside the ability of a patient to travel in hopes that getting an addict to quality facility for treatment will entice and encourage them to beat their addiction.

As the country continues to face the spread of addiction out into the countryside, the medical community has struggling to keep up to offer safe treatment options for those seeking help. While groups like Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Narcotics Anonymous (NA) tend to be available in most towns, even smaller ones, their success rate of helping addicts is less than ten percent and doesn’t benefit from the decades of advancement in research available in dedicated south Florida drug rehab centers. Only the future can tell whether the epidemic of addiction will be stunted but it’s clear that the current reach of help is not adequate enough.

Broward County drug rehab is available to anyone within reach, so if you or someone you love is suffering from substance use disorder, First Step Behavioral Health’s doors are always open. Call (866) 971-5531 for treatment options and locations.

Reviewed for Medical & Clinical Accuracy by Brittany Polansky, MSW, LCSW

Brittany has been working in behavioral health since 2012 and is the Assistant Clinical Director at our facility. She is an LCSW and holds a master’s degree in social work. She has great experience with chemical dependency and co-occurring mental health diagnoses as well as various therapeutic techniques. Brittany is passionate about treating all clients with dignity and respect, and providing a safe environment where clients can begin their healing journey in recovery.