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Port St. Lucie, FL

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Port St. Lucie

Port St. Lucie is no big city with approximately 189,000 people, yet it has the same concerns as big cities do with substance abuse and addiction. Located on the Atlantic, known as the “Treasure Coast,” Port St. Lucie not only is a hub for drug and alcohol addiction, also drug trafficking with its many ports that are advantageous to smuggling and distribution. Opioids are no stranger to Port St. Lucie as they have one of the highest rates of opioid prescriptions and abuse in the state of Florida. Alarming as it is, the number of opioid overdoses increased from 139 in 2016 to 179 in 2017.

As with most port cities, drugs and alcohol are readily accessible in this city. This doesn’t bode well for Port St. Lucie, FL as it puts them in the headlines often for drug busts. Illicit drugs and opioids are being smuggled more and more into this city reaching epidemic proportions. Struggling addicts are becoming more prevalent every day. One concerning statistic that stands out is, 96% of addicts who need treatment but didn’t get it truly believe they are doing fine. 

Alcohol is the most commonly used drug amongst teens and adults in the Port St Lucie area. St Lucie County has a higher amount of individuals with mental and behavioral health issues compared to neighboring cities like Lake and Marion. Given the size of the population, it is more likely to find individuals developing substance abuse dependencies. It’s very common for people to turn to drugs and alcohol with mental health issues as they “self-medicate” instead of asking for help. This reason alone has the City of Port St. Lucie making mental health issues a top priority. 

The opioid crisis is terrorizing the state with epic proportions in 2016 having the largest number of heroin-related overdose deaths for two consecutive years. This crisis is driven by a deadly synthetic painkiller called fentanyl that is said to be 50 to 100 times stronger than morphine.

Illicit fentanyl is manufactured in Mexico with Chinese chemicals turning a growing crisis deadly. The opioid crisis is so debilitating, President Trump had to act calling a national emergency while communities debate on whether to ration alternate drugs like Narcan which is used to revive overdose victims back to life. 

Port St. Lucie has had a long and surprising history of opioid addiction and distribution, specifically in relation to heroin. The population of Port St. Lucie residents using opioid drugs has dramatically increased in the past 7 years.

Here we show why Port St. Lucie and the state of Florida is considered the epicenter, let’s take a look; there were 5.725 opioid-related deaths last year, a 35% increase from 2015. This breaks down to 15 opioid-related deaths per day in 2016. The analysis also shows heroin-related overdose deaths increased by 62%. Fentanyl-related deaths increased a whopping 97%.

As with many of these coastal cities, treatment and rehab centers are easily accessible. One fact that stands out for the City of Port St. Lucie is an organization called St. Lucie County’s Abuse Prevention Network was awarded a five-year Drug-Free Communities grant of $125,000 per year from the White House’s Office of National Drug Control Policy and the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. 

This funding is to acknowledge both the leadership and community of Port St. Lucie for their commitment to creating a healthy and safe environment for all youth. This funding will be used to help prevent substance abuse in the youth, including prescription drugs, marijuana, and underage drinking. 

St. Lucie County’s Abuse Prevention Network was awarded a five year Drug Free Communities grant of $125,000 per year from the White House’s Office of National Drug Control Policy and the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

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