Twenty-nine people from across South Florida were indicted on drug trafficking or firearm sales charges in Broward County this month. In an undercover operation, law enforcement agents purchased an array of illegal substances and 285 firearms , including AR-15s, a police sniper rifle, AKs, and more, from those who now face federal charges. Among the substances sold to undercover agents were oxycodone, heroin, cocaine, flakka, and marijuana.
Those who were arrested were from Pompano Beach, Deerfield Beach, Fort Lauderdale, Plantation, Lauderdale Lakes, and Boynton Beach.
Carlos Gonzalez is a spokesperson for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives Miami field division. He said: “The streets are safer, and the good people of Pompano Beach can sleep a little easier knowing that these drug dealers and firearms traffickers are off the street. Their days of dealing drugs and selling firearms, perpetuating violence in our community, are over.”
A Continuous Battle
It would be nice if a slew of arrests would actually end the trafficking of drugs and guns in our streets, but the sad fact is that there are many others still in business and the gap left in the market by this operation will likely be filled quickly by other organizations. Arrests and undercover operations only go so far in helping to keep communities safe, and while an important part of the puzzle, they must be supported by other community efforts.
Ultimately, the best way to stop the crime and violence that drive the drug trade is to eliminate the demand for addictive, illegal substances. This means helping to prevent new cases of substance abuse and addiction from starting and also connecting those who are currently living with the disorder with treatment services that will help them to make addiction part of their pasts.
An increased understanding of the high stakes risks associated with use of opiate street drugs is a good place to start when it comes to helping people avoid addiction and even accidental overdose. Currently on the streets of Broward County is heroin that is laced with either fentanyl or carfentanil. Both of these substances are synthetic opiates that have a potency exponentially higher than heroin alone, and the tiniest amount can be lethal. More than 50 people have died of a carfentanil overdose in Broward County in the past six months. It is a serious threat and one that must be shared with those who are at risk as well as well publicized among young people and others who may consider experimenting with street drugs.
The Treatment Connection
For those who are living with opiate addiction, every single use of a street drug is a risk for medical emergency that may end in death. The only way to circumvent this possibility is to avoid using drugs, and since addiction is a medical disorder that negatively impacts the brain as well as the body, it is imperative that medical treatment that is thorough and comprehensive is sought immediately.
Though every client in treatment has a unique experience with drugs and therefore will have unique needs in treatment, for opiate addiction, it is in general necessary to have access to treatment services that include:
Medical detox: Physical dependence on opiate drugs must be addressed with medical care and support. For some, this may include the use of opiate detox medications. For many, it is recommended to take medications to manage symptoms and to work to get through detox as swiftly and safely as possible.
Treatment for co-occurring mental health disorders: If mood disorders, anxiety disorders, or other mental health issues are part of the picture, it is important that they be addressed during addiction treatment. Often, the symptoms of addiction exacerbate mental health symptoms, but mental health symptoms frequently trigger cravings for the drug of choice too; thus, it is important to get help for both disorders simultaneously.
Family therapy and support: Family members can be hugely helpful in connecting a loved one to treatment and also in supporting them in recovery. It is important to make sure that family members have the support they need to be a positive part of their loved one’s new life and also that all have a safe forum to work through issues that may have come up before or during addiction.
Peer interactions and support: Connections with others in recovery is a critical piece in the recovery puzzle. It is essential for clients to begin to connect with others who are similarly struggling during treatment.
Relapse prevention help: Learning how to handle cravings, notice triggers, and create a plan for handling stressors and other issues that formerly triggered the urge to get high are all part of learning how to be functional in recovery without substances of any kind.
Aftercare and support: In order to remain stable in recovery, it is recommended that long-term engagement with treatment services and the recovery community continue for years following the cessation of drug rehab.
Is your loved one ready to take the first step toward recovery? With the high risk of relapse more prevalent than ever before, the time is now.