Delray Beach has been labeled the “Recovery Capital” of America. Thousands of addicts arrive each year from all over the country for addiction treatment and find recovery in the beachy tourist town of 67,000 people.
The city itself had at one point 122 treatment facilities and was seeing 250% year over year opioid related overdoses.
With surging overdoses and opioid related fatalities and a proliferation of sober homes and drug rehabs, how did the city turn it around?
In 2018 the city saw a dramatic decrease in overdoses, from October 2016 to October 2017 the city saw about over a 60% drop!
Here’s how they did it:
Delray Beach hired an outreach specialist in June 2017. This person’s role is to offer resources to recovering addicts, homeless locals and people with mental illnesses. By January 2018 this person had already placed 27 people in treatment and connected another 67 with local resources. When dealing with addiction, you could argue that was 94 people ‘at risk’ who may have directly been able to be considered ‘lives saved’ due to these interventions!
The Delray Beach Police Department and Fire Departments are trained and carry Narcan (Nalaxone) to reverse overdoses and save lives. Not only are they equipped heavily with it, but the stats show they have had extensive experience using it.
Delray Beach created laws to improve sober home conditions by limiting the number of group homes in a given area. The new law says only one group home per 660 feet (or one city block).
Delray requires recovery residences to be certified by the Florida Association of Recovery Residences (FARR). Farr is a regulatory body to ensure safety and acceptable business practices in sober homes. This ensured safety and best practices in the homes.
Delray Beach was the home and direct beneficiary of the Sober Home Task Force which made over 45 arrests, created new laws to stop patient brokering, insurance fraud, sober home ethics and illegal marketing activities.
Good treatment facilities were given the opportunity to work with the task force to shape laws and identify unethical facilities. This was a true coordinated effort in the city.
The city is home to an extensive amount of community 12 step meetings. Stats show nearly 5,000 people attend AA and other 12 step meetings each week. One of the popular meeting locations "The Crossroads Club" provides meetings 7 days a week, 52 weeks a year. Not many communities have a resource like this available
One of the biggest things is that all interested parties came together in the best interests of the whole community. City commissioners, mayors, governors, drug rehabs, sober homes, clinicians, police departments, fire departments, and members of the local community all came together to make it happen.
Coordinated efforts of everyone made sure that the addiction treatment in the community was not eliminated, but improved for the better.
Also see our article, "Is It Safe To Go To A Drug Rehab in Florida?"