Fentanyl Overdoses in Florida Are Alarmingly HighAlyssa
Fentanyl is a new and powerful drug that has been rising in popularity over more recent years and has also been a big factor in the country’s opioid epidemic. In its wake, there have been a large number of fentanyl deaths across the country with Florida also being hit hard by this dangerous and deadly drug.
Florida Fentanyl Overdose Statistics
In 2016, synthetic opioids like fentanyl, in particular, became the leading culprits of drug overdose deaths in the United States, surpassing prescription opioids.1 The Sunshine State has seen the same trend with fentanyl as the leading cause of drug-related deaths in 2018 with reports claiming that 2,348 people overdosed on it that year.2 Like most of the country as a whole, Florida’s struggles with drug overdose deaths from opioids, in particular, have jumped in more recent years, but the state has also been higher than the average national rate for much of this time. With the exception of 2012 to 2015, since the beginning of the millennium, Florida has had a rate of overdose deaths per 100,000 persons that is higher than the national average. In particular, Florida ended 2017 at a rate of 25.1 per 100,000 persons compared to just 21.7 per 100,000 persons nationally.3
The fentanyl overdoses in Florida are especially concerning in Palm Beach, our own backyard. One report found that in 2018 the number of fentanyl overdose deaths in Florida was higher in Palm Beach county than any other county in the state including Miami-Dade; Palm Beach county reported a total of 278 people dying from this drug.2 As a drug rehab in Palm Beach, these statistics are alarming as multiple people in our community are struggling with and dying from this fatal drug.
Why Is Fentanyl So Deadly?
Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that is used to treat severe pain. It is both extremely addictive and also much more potent than other opioids. For reference, fentanyl is 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine.4
Fentanyl is deadly because of its high potency. The problem is that many people do not understand just how strong this drug is and end up taking too much at once. For some people, this may happen when they transition from prescription painkillers to other opioids. When they neglect to detox from prescription pills, they quickly become addicted to the pills before craving a stronger high. Eventually, theses drug users may turn to synthetic opioids like fentanyl for greater drug effects. Another danger of fentanyl is that other drugs can be laced with it, which is often unknown by the consumer. They may be taking what is a normal amount of heroin for them, not aware that part of what they are taking is fentanyl. If more people were willing to get opioid and pain pill detoxes in Palm Beach, we could see a decrease in the number of fentanyl deaths in Florida.
If you or someone you know is battling an addiction to opioids like fentanyl or other drugs, do not wait to get help. At Behavioral Health of The Palm Beaches, also known as the Center for Alcohol & Drug Studies, we support patients with varying substance abuse and mental health problems. Call us today at 561-220-3981 to learn more.
NIH – Fentanyl and Other Synthetic Opioids Drug Overdose Deaths
Palm Beach Post – This drug was the top killer in Palm Beach County — and Florida
NIH – Florida Opioid Summary
NIH – Fentanyl