The city of St. Augustine is known for being the oldest city in the United States. First founded in 1565, it has been the longest occupied settlement, even before the colonization of Jamestown or Plymouth, MA. It boasts beautiful Spanish style structures and remains a city known for its rich history. Today, those who live in St. Augustine enjoy doing things such as visiting the beach, seeing some of the several paranormal sites in the area, and dining out at upscale restaurants. And while St. Augustine remains a city that is frequently traveled through and is desirable to live in, it certainly is not free from the challenges of drug and alcohol abuse and addiction. In fact, St. Augustine addiction is mostly centered around opioids like prescription painkillers and heroin.
Drug Problems in St. Augustine
St. Augustine is certainly not exempt from its fair share of drug-related issues. Just like other cities and towns in the United States, St. Augustine battles against an influx of different types of substance use disorders. But some of the most prevalent issues facing this particular community range from the presence of powerful substances like fentanyl to exceptionally high rates of crime.
Fentanyl in St. Augustine
For the past few years, one of the most concerning trends seen in St. Augustine is the increase in fentanyl abuse. Not only has fentanyl been a drug that has negatively impacted nearly all states in America, but it has also taken the lives of thousands. In St. Augustine, several deadly fentanyl-related overdoses have occurred and continue to occur. Part of the reason why citizens of this city are losing their lives to fentanyl is because it is being laced into a wide variety of other drugs. Fentanyl can be found in heroin, cocaine, meth, and so on. Drug dealers will expand their profits by selling smaller amounts of a drug because fentanyl makes it so much more potent and powerful. While this might seem profitable to dealers, it is anything but for those living in St. Augustine. A deadly dose of fentanyl is 2 mg, which is no bigger than Lincoln’s cheek on a penny.
St. Augustine Addiction Among Adolescents and Teens
Several areas in St. Augustine are not only experiencing fentanyl abuse, but the abuse of other mind-altering substances. One report that studied substance abuse among adolescents and teenagers in St. Augustine between 2010-2020 found that the following substances (in consecutive order) are most abused in the area:
- Alcohol (20.6%)
- Marijuana (11.5%)
- Prescription amphetamines (2.1%)
- Prescription painkillers (1.4%)
- Hallucinogens (1.2%)
- Methamphetamine (0.3%)
- Cocaine/crack cocaine (0.2%)
- Heroin (0.1%)
These statistics reflect the number of young individuals abusing these substances in a 30-day period of time.
Police Have Been Battling Against an Influx of Dealers and Opioids
The sheer presence of drugs in St. Augustine was no longer able to be ignored during a two-week span of time in the summer of 2019. A whopping 68 arrests were made pertaining to drug activity (primarily dealers) during that time. These dealers were selling drugs that included opioids, meth, cocaine, and other mind-altering street drugs. The Sheriff’s Office Special Investigation Unit in the area reported that 60% of their time is spent investigating cases related to opioids, while the other 40% of their time is focused on cases pertaining to other street and prescription drugs.
But it is not just drug dealers that the police have been battling against. The crime rate in St. Augustine is much higher than that of the entire county. While not all crimes are drug-related, many of them end up being traced back to the consumption of drugs and alcohol or the selling of it. The most common crimes occurring within St. Augustine include burglary, theft, motor vehicle theft, and arson.
Encouraging a Better Future in St. Augustine
The St. Johns County Drug Court has taken the initiative to help change the lives of those struggling with addiction in the St. Augustine area. Rather than sentencing minor drug offenders to jail time, fines, community service, or worse, they have been working for nearly 10 years to encourage seeking professional help instead.
There comes a point in court where an individual who has drug violations is no longer legally able to be kept out of jail, regardless of what the judge prefers to do. Therefore, when individuals come into court for these types of offenses, judges in the area recommend professional treatment and help see them through programs to effect lasting change. The overarching goal is to help reduce drug use and crime in the area by treating the core issue — addiction.
St. Augustine Addiction Treatment at Pearl of the Sea Retreat
If you are struggling with a substance use disorder, know that you are not alone. Your disease does not define you, nor does it make you a bad person. At Pearl of the Sea Retreat, we can help address the underlying causes of your addiction so that you can begin making positive changes from the inside out. If you are ready to get started on those changes, contact us right now to speak with one of our compassionate, knowledgeable team members.