Florida has been affected by drug abuse for the last several years, with the state being among the top five in the U.S. for drug overdose deaths. Prescription drug abuse is particularly common in Florida, with opioids being a major concern. However, other substances that plague the state should not be ignored, including cocaine and methamphetamine. Due to Florida’s location and large population, it is considered a prime destination for drug traffickers. Despite various efforts by law enforcement agencies and healthcare providers to curb drug trafficking, it remains a significant issue in the state. To spread awareness on treatment, Banyan Stuart is sharing more on commonly abused Florida drugs.
What Drugs Are Legal in Florida?
Although federal law outlines specific Schedule I to V substances that are prohibited in the country through the Controlled Substances Act, states may also have individual laws establishing legal and illegal drugs. Only certain Florida drugs are legal, and they primarily include prescription drugs that have been prescribed by a licensed healthcare professional.
Some of the medications that are legal in Florida with a prescription and/or under the administration of licensed healthcare providers include:
- Cocaine (Schedule II)
- Methamphetamine (Schedule II)
- Morphine (Schedule II)
- Vicodin (Schedule II)
- Fentanyl (Schedule II)
- Adderall (Schedule II)
- Opium and salts (Schedule II)
- Products containing less than 90 milligrams of codeine per dosage unit, such as Tylenol with codeine (Schedule III)
- Ketamine (Schedule III)
- Anabolic steroids (Schedule III)
- Testosterone (Schedule III)
- Xanax (Schedule IV)
- Valium (Schedule IV)
- Ativan (Schedule IV)
- Ambien (Schedule IV)
- Tramadol (Schedule IV)
- Cough preparations with less than 200 milligrams of codeine or per 100 milliliters, such as Robitussin AC (Schedule V)
- Lomotil (Schedule V)
- Motofen (Schedule V)
- Lyrica (Schedule V)
- Parepectolin (Schedule V)
Depending on the Schedule it is classified under, certain drugs may be deemed completely illegal and have no medical use, may only be medically used under the supervision of a medical team, or may be prescribed by doctors. The type of drug schedule in which the substance is categorized illustrates how dangerous it is considered to be. For example, Schedule I drugs are considered to be more addictive than Schedule V drugs.
Most Abused Drugs in Florida
Commonly abused illegal drugs in Florida include heroin, cannabis, ecstasy, LSD, methaqualone, and peyote. However, if a prescription drug or drug with medical use is used without a prescription or while not under the supervision of a medical team, then the act is considered illegal. According to drug trafficking and substance use trends in the state, the most abused Florida drugs are marijuana, opioids, cocaine, and tranquilizers. Below is more on these substances, their legality, and their side effects.
Although medical marijuana has been legal in Florida since 2016 for qualifying patients with certain health conditions, there are still concerns about the use of this drug. According to a report by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, marijuana was the most common drug among all drug offenses in the state in 2020, with 46,000 marijuana-related offenses made that year.1 Additionally, emergency room visits related to marijuana use have been on the rise in recent years.
Despite the drug’s increased use in the medical field, Florida’s recreational marijuana use is illegal. Some of the risks associated with marijuana abuse include impaired judgment and coordination, increased heart rate, respiratory problems, and mental health issues such as anxiety and psychosis. There are also several long-term effects of cannabis that law enforcement wants residents to be mindful of, including addiction and respiratory disease.
As with other forms of substance abuse, efforts are being made to address illegal marijuana use in Florida, including education and prevention programs and increased access to addiction treatment. However, the issue remains a significant problem for law enforcement as many people are still using this substance illegally.
There is a major Florida opioid crisis, with the state being among the hardest hit by the opioid epidemic in the U.S. In fact, prescription opioid painkillers such as oxycodone, hydrocodone, and fentanyl are the primary cause of fatal opioid overdoses in the state. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, there were over 3,100 opioid overdose deaths in Florida in 2019, which is a rate of 14.4 deaths per 100,000 people and higher than the national average.2
Opioids in Florida have had a significant impact on families, communities, and the healthcare system, with many individuals struggling with opioid use disorder and its associated issues. Common adverse opioid side effects include sedation, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, constipation, respiratory depression, physical dependence, tolerance, and addiction. Despite the consequences, opioids’ impact on the brain’s dopamine supply and reward system makes it a highly addictive and sought-out drug, particularly in the Sunshine State.
As in many other states that have been affected by the opioid epidemic, efforts are being made to address opioid abuse in Florida, including increased access to medication-assisted treatment like medical detox, improving prescription drug monitoring programs, and implementing overdose prevention programs. There are also various initiatives aimed at reducing the abuse and trafficking of drugs like heroin and fentanyl in Florida, which have both contributed greatly to the state's rise in opioid overdose deaths.
On that note, our Stuart rehab offers opioid addiction treatment in Florida that incorporates medication-assisted care and psychotherapy to help patients heal both physically and psychologically. Our goal is not only to help clients achieve sobriety but also to teach them how to maintain it long after they have left rehab.
Stimulants like cocaine are common Florida drugs, as the state is a major transportation hub for this substance. According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, Florida has one of the highest rates of cocaine use in the nation, with an estimated 669,000 people aged 12 or older reporting past-year cocaine use in 2019 alone. This number increased to about 4.8 million people aged 12 or older in 2021.3
Also known as coke or crack, cocaine is a highly addictive stimulant that can cause serious health problems, including cardiovascular, respiratory, and neurological damage. The use of cocaine can also lead to risky behaviors, and intravenous use of the drug can contribute to the spread of infectious diseases such as HIV and hepatitis C.
As with the other Florida drugs mentioned on our list, efforts are being made to address cocaine abuse in Florida, including education and prevention programs and law enforcement efforts aimed at reducing the trafficking of the drug. Cocaine addiction treatment has also been made more widely available through facilities like our Stuart, Florida, Banyan Treatment Center to support individuals in regaining their health and sobriety.
The abuse of tranquilizers, particularly benzodiazepines (benzos), is another major concern in Florida. Tranquilizers like benzos are medications prescribed to treat anxiety and panic disorders along with seizure disorders. They slow down activity in the central nervous system to reduce symptoms. However, this can also lead to sedation and a sense of relaxation, which is appealing to many users.
Not surprisingly, benzodiazepines are highly addictive. Individuals who misuse them long-term can develop a tolerance, requiring higher doses to achieve the same effects. Misuse can also lead to serious health consequences, including respiratory depression, coma, and death, particularly when users mix benzos with alcohol or opioids.
According to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, benzodiazepines were involved in 7,040 of the 114,497 deaths reported in the state in the first six months of 2020. Emergency department visits related to benzo abuse have also been on the rise in recent years.4 Fortunately, benzodiazepine addiction treatment, along with drug monitoring programs and educational efforts, are being made to address this growing issue in the Sunshine State and help those affected to recover.
Contact Our Drug Rehab in Florida Today
Substance abuse can impact a person’s entire life. If you or someone you know is suffering from a drug or alcohol use disorder, do not wait to get help. Banyan offers Florida addiction treatment in Stuart and several other locations to support residents in their pursuit of sobriety.
- Florida Department of Law Enforcement – Florida Criminal History Records Statistics
- National Institute on Drug Abuse – Drug Overdose Death Rates
- National Institute on Drug Abuse – What is the scope of cocaine use in the United States?
- Florida Department of Law Enforcement – Drugs Identified in Deceased Persons by Florida Medical Examiners