Marijuana, opioids including heroin and prescription painkillers, other prescription drugs, and cocaine are commonly abused in southern Florida and Boca Raton. While mood disorders, such as anxiety and depression, are slightly less common in this portion of sunny southern Florida compared to the rest of the state, they are still prevalent.
Treatment should be simultaneous and concurrent for co-occurring mental health disorders and substance abuse.
Substance Abuse Statistics in Boca Raton
In the United States overall, the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) reports that in 2019 there were 57.2 million adults who used illicit drugs in the past year, and 23.9 percent binge drank alcohol in the month prior to the survey. Marijuana, pain relievers, hallucinogens, prescription sedatives or tranquilizers, cocaine, prescription stimulants, inhalants, methamphetamine, and heroin were the most frequently abused, in that order.
In the state of Florida, marijuana, alcohol, cocaine, heroin, and prescription drugs are most commonly abused substances.
Boca Raton is located in southern Florida within Palm Beach County. Substance abuse statistics for Palm Beach County compared to the state of Florida overall are as follows:
- In 2018, there were 6,099 adults enrolled in a substance abuse program in Palm Beach County. In Florida overall, there were 104,906 enrollees.
- There were 2,965 drug arrests in Palm Beach County in 2020, and there were 68,564 arrests in the state of Florida as a whole.
- Between January and June 2020, there were 358 drug overdose deaths in Palm Beach County, 330 of which were opioid overdoses. In Florida, for the same time period, there were 3,708 overdose deaths with 3,034 opioid overdose deaths.
- Between June and September 2020 in Palm Beach County, there were 3,209 emergency medical services (EMS) responses for a suspected non-fatal drug overdose and 35,129 EMS responses for a suspected non-fatal drug overdose in the state of Florida as a whole.
- In Palm Beach County, there were 1,825 hospitalizations for non-fatal drug overdoses in 2020 — approximately 606 non-fatal overdose hospitalizations involving opioids, 277 involving stimulants, and 222 involving heroin.
Statistics on Mental Health in Boca Raton
The pandemic has likely increased mental health issues, particularly in those prone to depression already. Between October and December 2020, nearly 5 percent of the American adult population had serious thoughts of suicide.
In Palm Beach County, and therefore Boca Raton, rates of depression between 2017 and 2019 were slightly lower than the state of Florida overall, with 12.4 percent of adults being told they have had a depressive disorder compared to 17.7 percent in the state of Florida overall. Overall, mental health statistics in Palm Beach County are slightly better than Florida state statistics.
These are additional mental health statistics for Palm Beach County:
- Approximately 18.2 percent of adults report their overall health as being fair or poor.
- Additionally, 9.2 percent of adults report having poor mental health on at least 14 of the past 30 days.
- The average number of unhealthy mental days in the past 30 days for Palm Beach County adults is 3.
- Adults in Palm Beach County also report that poor mental or physical health interfered with their daily life activities an average of 4.6 days out of the past month.
Link Between Mental Health & Substance Abuse
Mental health disorders and substance abuse commonly co-occur. The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) reports that around half of people who have a mental health disorder will also experience substance abuse in their lifetime, and the reverse is also true. This can be for a variety of reasons, such as these:
- Brain chemistry and similar regions of the brain can be involved in both the onset of a mental health disorder and a substance use disorder.
- Both mental health disorders and addiction have genetic components and can be heritable.
- Risk factors, such as trauma, extreme stress, and environmental triggers, can contribute to both substance abuse and a mental health disorder.
- Mental health disorders can make a person more likely to use drugs or alcohol, often as a coping mechanism. Substance abuse can also exacerbate and make mental health disorders worse.
Can Substance Abuse Cause Mental Health Disorders?
Mental health disorders and substance abuse are complexly intertwined. Both can complicate the other, and each can be a risk factor for each other as well.
In short, substance abuse can cause symptoms of a mental health disorder and even cause mental health issues to develop as a result of compulsive drug use.
A substance use disorder can increase the odds for a concurrent mental illness and cause one to form, especially in someone who already has additional risk factors or vulnerabilities for a mental health disorder. For example, studies show that marijuana use can be a potential risk factor for psychosis and the onset of schizophrenia in people who are already predisposed for the disorders.
Using drugs or alcohol regularly can make changes to the chemical makeup of your brain, changing the pathways to pleasure and reward. This can make it harder to feel happy without psychoactive substances, as your brain will no longer function the same way without them. Anxiety and depression are common side effects of drug and alcohol withdrawal.
The younger age at which you start using drugs or alcohol, the more likely you are to also develop a mental health and/or substance use disorder as well. Essentially, this early use can make changes to your brain before it is fully developed. This is especially true when additional overlapping risk factors, such as genetic vulnerabilities, are also present.
Mental Health Disorders That Often Co-Occur With Substance Abuse
The following mental health disorders are commonly comorbid with substance abuse disorders:
- Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD)
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Panic disorder
- Bipolar disorder
- Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
- Borderline personality disorder (BPD)
- Antisocial personality disorder
About one out of every four people with a serious mental illness (SMI), which impacts daily life functioning and can cause severe impairment, also have a substance use disorder (SUD).
Mental health disorders and substance abuse are often managed through both behavioral therapeutic and pharmacological means. Behavioral therapies, like cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), offer both group and individual sessions that serve to develop more self-awareness and healthy coping mechanisms for handling stress and triggers as they arise.
Medications can also aid with regulating brain chemistry for mood and mental health disorders. They can also help to manage symptoms of withdrawal and drug cravings.
Treatment options include differing levels of care, ranging from residential or inpatient treatment programs to outpatient models. When substance abuse and mental health disorders co-occur, a comprehensive and highly structured treatment program can often offer the highest level of care with consistent support and monitoring.
After a treatment program, sober living communities and support groups are an important aspect of recovery that can help to maintain sobriety and ensure that the healthy habits learned in rehab have time to set. Support during recovery is essential to maintain sobriety and manage mental health symptoms on a long-term basis.
Treatment Offered at Boca Recovery Center
The Boca Recovery Center provides a high level and standard of care with treatment for co-occurring disorders. The highly trained and experienced staff members can design and carry out a complete care plan that effectively addresses both disorders together.
The Boca Recovery Center has the option for a Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP), Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP), or a Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) program for drug and alcohol rehab.
With these programs, you will spend a certain number of hours each day (or night) attending structured programming and then return home to a Community Housing space. There, you will have flexibility to attend 12-step support groups and build your own healthy sober support network to carry you through recovery.
The Importance of Concurrent Treatment
Care for both mental health disorders and substance abuse should be comprehensive and work to manage the symptoms of both disorders at the same time. Since each disorder can contribute to the other, both need to be addressed simultaneously.
As you address one issue, the other benefits. This is particularly true since mental health issues and substance abuse issues often have similar risk factors and underlying causes.
It is also important for the care providers to work together to form a treatment plan that works for both disorders. For example, medications are often an important aspect of treatment, but these need to be monitored closely and managed correctly when drug misuse is a factor.
Resources for Mental Health & Substance Abuse in Boca Raton
- NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) Palm Beach County: This group provides local resources for mental health in the area.
- Florida Department of Health in partnership with the Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF): They offer resources for substance abuse and mental health within the state.
- Florida Drug and Alcohol Abuse Association (FADAA) and Florida Behavioral Health Association: They provide a host of resources for families, individuals, and those seeking treatment for substance abuse and mental health in Florida.
- South Palm Beach County Intergroup (SPBCI) of Alcoholics Anonymous (A.A.): This group serves Boca Raton and surrounding areas, offering 12-step peer support and local group meetings.
- Narcotics Anonymous (N.A.): This is a meeting list of N.A. 12-step peer support group meetings in Boca Raton and the surrounding area where people can find recovery support for addiction.
- Florida Association of Recovery Residences (FARR): This nonprofit organization is designated by Florida’s DCF to certify sober living homes. They offer information and resources on these residences and communities.
Mental health and substance abuse are best managed through a comprehensive treatment program that is then followed with ongoing support and healthy sober social outlets during recovery. The Boca Recovery Center can help to set you up for a long and sustained recovery.
- Key Substance Use and Mental Health Indicators in the United States: Results from the 2019 National Survey on Drug Use and Health. (September 2020). Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).
- Health Services and Access to Care - Palm Beach County. (2021). Florida Department of Health.
- Heath Services and Access to Care - Florida. (2021). Florida Department of Health.
- Drug-Related Consequences - Palm Beach County. (2021). Florida Department of Health. Retrieved from:
- Drug-Related Consequences - Florida. (2021). Florida Department of Health.
- Fatal and Non-Fatal Overdose - Palm Beach County. (2021). Florida Department of Health. Retrieved from:
- Fatal and Non-Fatal Overdose - Florida. (2021). Florida Department of Health. Retrieved from:
- SAMHSA Releases 2020 National Survey on Drug Use and Health. (October 2021). Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).
- 2017-2019 Florida Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS). Florida Department of Health.
- Substance Abuse and Co-Occurring Mental Disorders. (March 2021). National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH).
- Mental Health. National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA).
- The Association Between Cannabis Use and Schizophrenia: Causative or Curative? A Systematic Review. (July 2020). Cureus.
- The Connection Between Substance Use Disorders and Mental Illness. (April 2020). National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA).
- Local and Other Resources. NAMI Palm Beach County.
- Substance Abuse. Florida Department of Health.
- FADAA. FADAA & Florida Behavioral Health Association.
- SPBCI of A.A. South Palm Beach County Intergroup of A.A.
- Narcotics Anonymous Meeting Search Results. N.A. Retrieved from:
- Setting the Standard for Recovery Residences. FARR Florida Association of Recovery Residences.