Addiction happens to everyone. It doesn’t discriminate; those young and old, of every race, gender, and creed, fall victim to addiction each and every day. And it happens right here in West Palm Beach, FL. From Delray Beach to Port Saint Lucie, addiction plagues our community and threatens our friends and families without prejudice.
Drug addiction is unfortunately pronounced in South Florida, including West Palm Beach. In 2017, city police and emergency medical services responded to over 700 overdose calls, up more than 60% since 2016. In 2016, 571 individuals died from opiate overdoses alone in Palm Beach County, largely due to the influx of fentanyl and fentanyl analogs present in bags of heroin. Illegal drugs often can’t be qualified based on makeup, as every dealer and every product differs, making it harder than ever to avoid taking too much of a stronger-than-anticipated opiate. From 2015 to 2016, deaths related to fentanyl increased 97%, indicating a serious problem that is significantly affecting those in the the tri-county area, including Broward and Miami-Dade counties as well. Fentanyl isn’t the only culprit, either, as there were also 86 cocaine overdose deaths in 2016.
Overdose challenges don’t end in South Florida; statewide, there were 5,725 opioid-related deaths in 2016, an increase of 35% from 2015. Tragically, these numbers do not appear to be decreasing.