Drug, alcohol and tobacco use, abuse and addiction are monitored by the Department of Justice and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration. Many states, like Florida, also monitor the use within their respective states in order to compare local use to the national average.

Though states are continuously collecting data, reports are released infrequently from both state and federal governments. Most current statistics come from 2009 and 2010.

The federal government reported that in 2009 that the number of drug-induced deaths in Florida in relation to its population was higher than the national average. Given this statistic, many law enforcement officers and community programs have grown concerned about what types of substance abuse exists in Florida, in an effort to curb the use and thereby ensure that communities are safe from drug-associated dangers like overdose and crime.

Illicit Drug Trends In Florida

  • Methamphetamine production and use is on the rise in Florida; more than 300 meth labs were seized in 2009 alone. Though methamphetamine use is a state-wide concern, meth is not one of the more popularly used drugs.
  • Marijuana and prescription drugs are responsible for the majority of treatment cases in Florida.
  • Marijuana is the most widely used drug in Florida. Florida teenagers smoke more marijuana than they do tobacco. Additionally, though Florida experienced a decrease in the number of middle-school students who used marijuana during the early 2000s, by the end of the decade, middle school use had increased.
  • Cocaine is considered the primary drug threat within the state. Cocaine is generally smuggled in on boats from South America that are often routed through the Bahamas.
  • Nearly 40 percent of homeless people who suffer from a debilitating condition suffer from drug and/or alcohol addiction, and almost two-thirds of Florida's prisoners are addicted to drugs or alcohol.

Prescription Drug Abuse In Florida

Florida, like many states, has implemented a prescription drug monitoring program to combat pharmacy employees from stealing, patients from doctor shopping and pill mills or “pain clinics" from operating.

Prescription drug related deaths increased in the last years of the 2000's. Oxycodone has historically been responsible for the most prescription drug related deaths.

Alcohol Abuse And Addiction

In 2010, 28.8 percent of high school students reported that they regularly drank alcohol, and 14.1 percent of the students reported binge drinking. Both of these statistics suggest that alcohol use among high school students is decreasing. These numbers are still above the national average.

In addition to drugs and alcohol, Florida is also experiencing a rise in gambling addiction and its associated problems. In 2011, the Florida Council on Compulsive Gambling experienced a significant increase in the number of calls to their gambling addiction hotline, including an 18 percent increase from 2010 and a 57 percent increase since 2007.

Addiction, whether drug, alcohol or gambling, affects a number of people. The levels of addiction in Florida generally hover around the national average, though one of the most important trends is the rise in the number of people using and dying from prescription drugs.