Addiction in Port St. Lucie, Florida
Port St. Lucie, Florida has an approximate population of 189,344 people and is located on the Atlantic as a part of the “Treasure Coast.” As a large coastal city, it is a hub for substance trafficking as it includes many ports that are advantageous for drug smuggling and distribution. Port St. Lucie has some of the highest rates of opioid prescriptions and opioid abuse throughout the state of Florida. The number of accidental opioid overdoses increased from 139 in 2016 to 179 in 2017.
Alcohol Abuse in Port St. Lucie
Alcohol is the most commonly used drug among teens and adults in the Port St. Lucie area. Compared to the neighboring counties of Lake and Marion, St. Lucie County has a higher amount of adult and teen mental and/or behavioral health disorders, which is a population that is more likely to develop substance dependencies. Many people with mental health issues use alcohol and drugs to “self-medicate,” which can then lead to co-occurring disorders (a simultaneous substance addiction and mental disorder in an individual). Port St. Lucie health officials have made addressing mental health issues a top priority; however, it is still a prominent issue.
Opioid and Heroin Addiction in Port St. Lucie
Port St. Lucie has had a long and surprising history of opioid addiction and distribution, specifically in relation to heroin. The population of Port St. Lucie residents using opioid drugs has dramatically increased in the past 7 years.
Heroin is a potent opioid that influences the brain’s reward-system and production of “feel-good” chemicals, such as dopamine and endorphins, and deprives the brain of its natural production of these chemicals. Heroin is a highly addictive drug that can be smoked, snorted, or injected. Many Port St. Lucie authorities attribute the increased-use of heroin to the state-wide crack down on pain management clinics, or “pill mills,” that previously provided the public with easy access to opioid painkillers like oxycodone and Demerol. Heroin use and heroin-related deaths have been on a steady rise in Port St. Lucie since 2015, and this number is predicted to increase in the coming years.
The first time I used, it wasn’t the feeling that [heroin] gave me, it was the ‘not feeling’ that the drug enabled. It was the numbness, the emptiness, the not thinking. It took everything away immediately and that’s what I wanted.
Those that suffer from a heroin addiction and try to abruptly quit on their own, or go “cold turkey,” without the aid of detox professionals, can suffer from severe withdrawal symptoms. Many heroin users that attempt to quit often return to the drug because they cannot cope with the severe and debilitating effects of withdrawal.
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Hallucinogen Abuse is on the Rise in Port St. Lucie
In addition to the ensuing opioid epidemic, Port St. Lucie has also been subject to an increase in the presence and use of hallucinogens. LSD and DMT are the hallucinogens of choice for the young Port St. Lucie population, as St. Lucie County Sheriff’s Office is encountering the drugs more and more during routine drug busts around the city.
Dimethyltryptamine, or “DMT,” is a powerful hallucinogen that has been around for centuries and acts as an attractive alternative to individuals seeking a psychedelic experience that is not as long-lasting or intense as other hallucinogens such as LSD. A huge DMT drug bust occurred in August of 2018, incarcerating 3 individuals on accounts of possession of a controlled substance with intent to sell and manufacture. The St. Lucie County Sheriff’s Office first encountered the drug in Port St. Lucie back in 2014, and its presence has only increased since then.
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If you are an individual addicted to or abusing alcohol or drugs in the Port St. Lucie area, you are not alone. Alcoholism and drug dependency can occur due to many complex reasons. There are countless resources and rehab facilities to help you are or a loved one struggling with addiction. Contact a treatment provider today to learn the best rehabilitation treatments that can help you in your fight against addiction.