Fighting Synthetic Drug Addiction in Florida

Saturday, March 2nd, 2013

Statue in Williams ParkWilliams Park, in the heart of Florida’s Gulf Coast city of St. Petersburg, was established more than 125 years ago as an oasis of peace and tranquility in a bustling urban setting.  Or it should be.  The four-acre park, with its lush greenery, benches and footpaths, wilderness area and performance stage, now has gone the way of so many urban parks and become a gathering place for homeless people and drug users.

A recent article in the Tampa Bay Times highlighted the growing problem of Spice addiction among the regulars at Williams Park. During the past few years especially, use of this synthetic drug has become rampant in Williams Park.  Because the ingredients used to manufacture the marijuana-like substance are legal, it is sold in many stores with little restriction.  When an ingredient is outlawed, manufacturers scramble to substitute a legal chemical with similar effects.  In addition, the article pointed out that many users also suffer from mental health issues, such as depression and bipolar disorder.

Phoenix House has responded to this serious threat to the community’s health by becoming one of the first treatment providers in Florida to test for and treat addiction to Spice and other synthetic drugs.  For more than two years, our doctors and therapists have had significant success in treating the abuse of synthetic drugs, as well as the mental health disorders which frequently accompany and complicate it.  Adolescents struggling with synthetic and other drugs receive  expert care at Tampa’s Derek Jeter Center at Phoenix House and at our Brandon Outpatient Center.  Adults also receive outpatient treatment at both Tampa and Brandon.  While the epidemic of Spice and other drug use in public areas like St. Petersburg’s Williams Park is going to remain a source of concern to the community, Phoenix House is in the forefront of efforts to combat it.

Do you know someone who needs help for problems with Spice, K-2, or another dangerous drug?  Contact Phoenix House at 1 888 671 9392.  Our skilled and compassionate staff will provide outstanding rehabilitation and behavioral health care, delivered with dignity and respect.

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