Drug And Alcohol Addiction In Port St. Lucie, Florida
With an approximate population of 215,922, Port St. Lucie is located on the shores of the Atlantic, coined the “Treasure Coast.” As a large shoreside 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.
Fortunately, there are numerous treatment facilities nearby and in surrounding areas that provide various rehab services to assist those struggling with abuse and addiction.
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 number of both teen and adult mental and/or behavioral health disorders and those with preexisting conditions tend to be 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 diagnosis). Port St. Lucie health officials have made addressing mental health issues a top priority; however, it is still a prominent issue.
Port St. Lucie and the Opioid Epidemic
Port St. Lucie has had a long and surprising history of Opioid addiction and distribution, specifically, Heroin. The population of 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 other 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 prescribed 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.
The number of accidental Opioid overdoses increased from 139 in 2016 to 179 in 2017. This could be in part to the increased presence of a synthetic opioid, Fentanyl (a substance more potent and lethal than Morphine), being laced with other drugs. In October of 2021, local Port St. Lucie officials confiscated 497 grams (slightly more than a pound) of the chemical; a lethal dose of Fentanyl is 3 milligrams, roughly the size of a few grains of sand. This seizure produced the largest amount of the substance the police had seen.
Hallucinogen Abuse Is On The Rise
In addition to the ensuing Opioid epidemic, Port St. Lucie has also been subject to an increase in the presence and use of Hallucinogens. Lysergic Acid Diethylamide (LSD) and Dimethyltryptamine (DMT) are the psychedelics 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.
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 or someone you know is struggling with substance abuse or addiction 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 or a loved one suffering from addiction. Contact a treatment provider today to learn more about recovery options.
Jena Hilliard earned her Bachelor’s of Arts degree from the University of Central Florida in English Literature. She has always had a passion for literature and the written word. Upon graduation, Jena found her purpose in educating the public on addiction and helping those that struggle with substance dependency find the best treatment options available.
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- Floridahealth.gov. (2013). 2013 Community Health Assessment for St. Lucie County, Florida. Retrieved on 5th October 2018 from http://www.floridahealth.gov/provider-and-partner-resources/community-partnerships/floridamapp/state-and-community-reports/st-lucie-county/_documents/saintlucie-cha.pdf
- Port St. Lucie Police Department. (2017). 2017 Annual Report. Retrieved in 5th October 2018 from http://www.cityofpsl.com/Home/ShowDocument?id=1730
- Will Greenlee. (2018). Tcpalm.com. DMT, a Powerful new Hallucinogen, Found in Port St. Lucie. Retrieved on 5th October 2018 from https://www.tcpalm.com/story/news/crime/st-lucie-county/2018/08/24/new-drug-powerful-hallucinogen-found-port-st-lucie/1082768002/
- Will Greenlee. (2017). Tcpalm.com. Opioid Problem has Reached ‘Epidemic Proportions’ on Treasure Coast. Retrieved on 5th October 2018 from https://www.tcpalm.com/story/news/crime/st-lucie-county/2017/08/23/opioid-problem-has-reached-epidemic-proportions-treasure-coast-report-finds/428686001/
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- TC Palm. (2021). Sherriff's Office in St. Lucie County Makes One of its Largest--If Not its Largest--Fentanyl Busts. Retrieved on December 28, 2021 from: https://www.tcpalm.com/story/news/crime/st-lucie-county/2021/10/15/more-than-pound-fentanyl-seized-st-lucie-county-sheriffs-office/8472833002/
- Alcohol and Drug Foundation (ADF) (2021). What is LSD? Retrieved on December 28, 2021 from: https://adf.org.au/drug-facts/lsd/