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Over the past several years the media has been devoted in their efforts to reveal detestable owners and low-quality professionals in the addiction treatment industry and sober living. Politicians more attracted to votes than in truly reducing addiction rates and overdoses make the issue worse by boasting popular slogans or concepts without fact checking. In fact, their connection to the real problem is far beyond that of uninformed, it’s extremely misinformed and damaging toward those in the industry that are here to help people.

There is a Reason South Florida is America’s Rehabilitation Capitol

Indeed, there are horrible players within this industry and they should be exposed. There are also countless social workers, doctors, nurses, mental health counselors, behavioral technicians, and house supervisors working in reliable businesses that are striving 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, to stop the fatalities, the anguish, the epidemic. We are the ones directing an individual to treatment, responding to a call from someone pleading for aid, reassuring a loved one, or providing Narcan for an overdose, while performing a sternum rub and hoping that they come back to life. In some cases, they don’t. Anywhere you go, there are good and bad players in life. Proper research and a few good alumni recommendations is what you should be looking for. Yes there are shady or “less than trust-worthy” centers around the area, but the truth is that they get exposed quickly, and that is mostly in part because of the strength within the recovery community. There is more than one reason why South Florida is the best place for drug or alcohol treatment. This just happens to be one of the biggest.

Relapse Happens

One of our clients just returned to treatment following a relapse, or as we say, “recurrence of substance use”. For the initial time frame of treatment, it felt like coming across an altogether new person. She was driven, responsive to feedback, and invested in her own recovery. She described that prior to entering treatment she had been revived from an overdose after numerous doses of Naloxone. When she was revived, she noticed that she was right next to her own body bag. The EMT’S had already made the call that she was dead.

As this article was being created, she is leaving treatment in opposition to medical recommendations. She rejects all offers to move her to another center or enable us to schedule continuing treatment through sober living and outpatient therapy. Why would she do this? How could she have already forgotten the consequences?

How Can Tens of Thousands of Americans Constantly Use the Opiates that Will Eventually Kill Them?

Opiate addicts are very likely to give up treatment ahead of time and more likely to need to go back to treatment. Our own research has revealed that individuals who mainly use heroin have been to treatment nearly twice as many times as those that primarily use alcohol. Most of our clients have been to treatment before. This might lead people to assume that treatment doesn’t work. But that is the farthest thing from reality when you truly understand the science behind addiction. Everyone that becomes addicted eventually relapses along the road of addiction at least once. The difference is understanding your addiction, and giving in to not only the fact that you are an addict, but that you do need help.

The Honest Reality

The reality is that honest, reliable treatment does exist in South Florida and these centers are essential. The 2018 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) determined that around 21.7 million individuals aged 12 or older needed substance use treatment in the past year. Simply put, 1 in 6 adolescents (age 18-25) and 1 in 14 adults (26 or older) require treatment. Regrettably, almost 90% of these individuals won’t obtain the assistance they frantically need. Even for the 10% that do acquire treatment, the concern remains: Is that treatment reliable?

Breaking the Stigma

The effectiveness of the “Florida Model” has come under certain critique. This phrase pertains to a way of structuring treatment with shifting levels of care, a framework used by most South Florida treatment centers. In the Florida Model, clients originally exist in systems with on-site, daily clinical programs along with medical monitoring. After a certain amount of time, individuals advance to a less structured system where they still obtain everyday treatment but live at a different location, typically a “sober home” where they are neighbored by others starting their journey of recovery. They have much more access and communication with the outside world and begin the process of re-integration.

The Addicted Brain

This emphasis on integration comes to be crucial when we think about the epidemic we are presently dealing with and the necessities of these individuals. The reality is: heroin and other opiates are different, and can affect everyone differently. Like most drugs, they harm the pre-frontal cortex of the brain. This substantially affects the capability to make choices, think about risks, and cease impulsive action. In contrast to other drugs, this catastrophe doesn’t seem to heal. Research studies have discovered that after months and even years of abstinence, opiate users are still more spontaneous and they still make improper choices. These shortages in executive cognitive functioning place these individuals at certain threat for recurrence.

Tropical Climate and Strong Recovery Community

Acknowledging this, the rational deduction is that opiate users require more time to master new skills for managing these deficiencies, more time in a safe atmosphere where they are unpolluted from these often-deadly impulses. Groundwork continually upholds that additional time in treatment results in higher rates of abstinence. A client that uses heroin must discover how to get through life not only without drugs or alcohol, but with a reduced capability to make proper choices and withstand impulses. By using the Florida Model, individuals can gradually adjust to this new lifestyle. They can start applying new skills while continuing to acquire assistance and continuous therapy. This means that the Florida Model is in fact ideally designed for taking care of this epidemic. A combination of a strong recovery community (the largest in America) and the warm and vivacious tropical climate of South Florida makes it perfect for activities (especially outdoor). An active community with plenty to do is a big part of proper recovery.

Leave with a Sense of Accomplishment

As our client strolls off property, it is easy to feel pulverized, but we must keep in mind that it doesn’t always occur like this. We have plenty of alumni celebrating success, in recovery. They are doctors, lawyers, deputies, and fireman. They are mothers, daughters, fathers and sons. They are public servants, actors, athletes, and religious pioneers. What do they all have in common? Most of them left treatment too soon and came back to treatment multiple times before ultimately recognizing that they want to live. Once they recognized that their life was worth it, they took in the help, blended back into society and continued to abide by the framework that would allow them to stay on the right course. Why did they finally do this? Well that is the million-dollar question. We never know if it will take one time in treatment or numerous times in treatment but what we do know is that today, one use of heroin could and very well may be their final. We are talking about life and death. Every life matters. Sometimes the media and politicians forget that hidden within the construct of the recovery community of Florida, there are still those that are truly here to make a difference. And those companies should be recognized as such, and praised instead of being grouped together within the cloud of negativity that they are broadcasting to the public. It’s self-defeating and morally unethical.

Recovery You Can Trust

Here at Northlake Recovery, we hope and pray that you or your loved one will never be in the situation to require our services. We hope you never get the call that your loved one has over-dosed. We pray that we never have to be the one to explain why your child has passed away. We hope the statistics never become personal for you like they are for us. However, if, and likely when, someone you know, your spouse, your child, your best friend needs help, then you may have a different opinion of us, and the recovery community. Northlake Recovery will be standing by, ready to help. Call us if you have any questions, toll-free, 24 hours a day at (561)-770-6616.

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