The economy, stress and more drug and alcohol abuse. It is a dangerous combination in Florida, a state already struggling with the negative effects of the prescription drug abuse epidemic.
Unemployment in Florida has also reduced state revenue, which has resulted in less outpatient funding for drug and alcohol treatment programs. Treatment centers in the state are operating at maximum capacity and the system is stressed. That, in turn, has resulted in a doubling of Marchman Act commitments in Florida.
According to the Highlands County Clerk of Court’s office, 392 people were involuntarily committed to substance abuse programs through the Marchman Act in 2011. In the first quarter of this year, that number increased to 177. If commitments proceed at the same rate for the rest of 2012, they will reach 766.
Job loss and the inability to find another job are contributing to the problem. Families are stressed, and unfortunately, many people find themselves turning to drugs, prescription and illegal, as well as alcohol, to cope with the depression and misery of the situation.