Like many areas of the United States, Palm Beach County continues to struggle under the weight of drug use. With a growing number of people using drugs and alcohol and access to both prescription and synthetic opioids present, there is a renewed effort by law enforcement and medical providers to help those in need. Yet, to help them, it is important to know the risks and trends happening now. A look at Palm Beach County overdose rates can shed key light on what is happening within the area.
What Are Palm Beach County Overdose Rates?
A report from the Palm Beach County Substance Awareness Coalition provides some key information about what’s happening within the area. These details are from the latest report issued for 2017. Take a closer look at some of the key Palm Beach County overdose trends occurring here.
Non-Medical Misuse of Prescription Opioids
One of the trends most people monitor is the use of prescription painkillers or opioids. Because the U.S. is facing an epidemic of non-medical misuse of these drugs, this is one of the statistics to watch. The report found that misuse of this type of prescription drug fell from 2011 through 2013. However, since that time, the number of deaths from misuse of it has increased.
The county, like many in the region, has new measures put in place. A crackdown on use of this type of prescription drugs is likely to decline in the coming years.
What Drugs Are Causing Overdoses in the Area?
Many of Palm Beach County overdoses center on opioids. However, the report also shows evidence of other types of drug overdose deaths. It found:
- The number of overdoses from benzodiazepine has increased in both 2015 and 2016. The drug overdoses from this particular substance fell from 2011 and 2013, though. This is much like the trends with opioid doses.
- Cocaine continues to be a worrisome drug as it has for decades. Since 2013, there has been a steady increase of overdose deaths linked to cocaine use. One key finding is that this growth in use may be due to cocaine mixing with heroin and other types of opioids.
- In teens, marijuana is the primary drug of choice. The report found 79 percent of teens under the age of 18 and entering into a drug rehab center in the county used marijuana.
- In the first half of 2016, Palm Beach County saw more heroin deaths than any other county in the state of Florida.
- Underage alcohol use and binge drinking have declined over the last 10 years in the area.
Where Are Drug Deaths Taking Place?
Overdose rates are high and growing for many reasons. Access is one of them. Individuals who are seeking a high look at what substances are available. Prescription drugs tend to be an easily accessed option. Marijuana, which teens heavily use, as well as alcohol, continue to be first steps into drug use and abuse. When considering Palm Beach County overdose rates, it is important to recognize these are:
- Just those reported
- Just those in which can be understood based on toxicology results
- Only a small representation of the use of these types of chemicals and drugs within the community
Overdose rates in Palm Beach County only show those who die from use. Many, many others struggle from the impact of drug abuse and use. They tend to suffer from poverty, poor nutrition, and lack access to quality healthcare. More so, many struggle to improve the quality of their life on their own because of the demands these types of drugs create on their day-to-day life.