The History and the Rise of Cocaine Use in Florida

A single mention of cocaine’s history and cocaine use in the United States conjures up images of Miami in the 1980s. This was a time when cocaine shipments from Colombia to Miami were at an all-time high, flooding South Florida with cocaine use in Florida and resulting in a record-breaking body count.

For a time after this period, the authorities in Florida cracked down on cocaine use and abuse, alleviating the issue in its cities. This lasted for several decades but now state authorities are observing an increase in smugglers bringing the drug into the state at a rate unseen since the cocaine boom of the late 1970s and early 80s.

Here, we’ll look at the growing cocaine abuse problem in Florida, and how the addiction treatment community can help fight cocaine addiction.

If you or a loved one are struggling with cocaine addiction, Lumiere Detox Center can provide the help you need, in a supportive, comfortable environment. Call us today for more information about how you can take the first steps on the road to recovery with us.

Why Cocaine is So Dangerous

When the brain utilizes dopamine naturally, it will release it into the brain and then absorb it back into the cells it came from after only a short period. This is often in response to activities such as the smell of delicious food or the satisfaction of listening to good music. Cocaine becomes addictive because it continually inspires the brain to release dopamine without recycling it. Many people take cocaine for days at a time, sustaining this sensation and enhancing their high.

The immediate effects of using cocaine are increased mental awareness, a strong feeling of happiness, a burst of natural energy, intense reactions to light and sound, and a feeling of paranoia. But as the user continues to take cocaine, they will experience reactions such as elevated heartbeat, nausea, tremors, increased blood pressure, rise in internal body temperature, and dilated pupils. Cocaine can also damage the sinuses, and it can be fatal in the event of an overdose.

It took the United States government almost two decades to realize how dangerous cocaine can be and prompted the ban of the substance in all foods and medical treatments. A cocaine addiction can escalate quickly and become a very serious problem. Once it starts, the manic reaction it creates can drive the user to take dangerous, and possibly deadly, amounts of the drug.

Cocaine can be found in various forms:

  • Powder cocaine, which is usually snorted into the nostrils
  • Crack or rock cocaine, which can be smoked
  • Cocaine diluted into a solution, often with other drugs that can be injected intravenously

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), the dangers of cocaine come from the type of high that it produces. When cocaine is ingested in any of these varieties, it changes the way your brain treats dopamine, the chemical responsible for feelings of pleasure.

Usually, dopamine is released and recycled your brain is done with it, ending the sensation, but cocaine keeps the dopamine from being recycled. Under the influence of any form of cocaine, dopamine is released and pools up into excessive amounts, causing intense euphoric sensations.

Because the high from cocaine is comparatively shorter than that of other substances, users keep using higher and higher amounts to keep the feeling longer. As more and more of the drug is used, the toxicity builds up in the bloodstream, building the potential risk of overdose.

Cocaine is Responsible for a Large Part of Florida Overdose Deaths

The 2016 statewide Medical Examiner’s report in Florida showed some eye-opening data about an increase in cocaine abuse in the state:

  • Toxicology reports from decedents in Florida showed that cocaine was the third-most commonly occurring drug found, after only alcohol and prescription benzodiazepines.
  • In cases where medical examiners could identify the drug that was the singular cause of death, cocaine came in second, only after the powerful opiate fentanyl.
  • In the first half of 2016, occurrences of cocaine usage in the deceased increased 34.1 percent from the first half of 2015.
  • Deaths caused by cocaine increased 42 percent between the first halves of 2015 and 2016.

There is another recent trend in Florida and across the United States that may explain why deaths from fentanyl and cocaine are outpacing other addictive substances in the past few years: In 2016 in New York City, 37 percent of overdose deaths were from a mix of cocaine and fentanyl.

This combination, without heroin being a factor, means that all over the country — Florida included — dealers are using the cheap, easy to produce painkiller fentanyl (and it’s analogs, including the more lethal carfentanil) to cut cocaine. Users that die from fentanyl-laced cocaine likely don’t even realize what they’ve take until it’s too late.

Cocaine Use in Florida’s Universities

Florida’s two flagship universities both have a reputation for being hard-party locations, with Florida being ranked 18 and Florida State ranked 20 on a Princeton Review List of 2017’s biggest party schools.

When it comes to partying in college, cocaine use seems to be par for the course. A longitudinal study of students in a large public school that resembles the two most popular in Florida, cocaine use was found to increase each year that students attended.

The Rise (Again) of the Cocaine Trade in South Florida

DEA authorities assigned to South Florida say that region is once again being hit hard by shipments of cocaine coming from Colombian drug producers. Although the entire state deals with the scourge of drugs like cocaine, South Florida is getting the brunt of it. Here are some key takeaways from the DEA statements about the region.

  • The Agency believes that Colombia is producing more of the drug now than in the 1980s, at the hard of Miami’s cocaine age.
  • In 2015, there were 614 fatalities from cocaine in South Florida’s 3 most populous counties — Dade, Broward and Palm Beach — a 29 percent increase from the previous year.

How Can the Addiction Treatment Community Help?

At Lumiere Detox Center, we provide a supportive environment for patients addicted to cocaine and other drugs to detox and live in sobriety with support from a staff of addiction professionals. If you or a loved one is dealing with addiction to cocaine, you can’t afford to wait to get help. Call Lumiere Detox Center today at 855-535-8501 for more information how we can be your ticket to a better life. Additionally, if you have more questions about Cocaine use in Florida, please contact us.