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Like several other states whose geographic location, population makeup or other circumstances make them prime areas for drug trafficking, both domestic and international, Florida has this unfortunate distinction. The problem is so serious that major highways running from Florida to Atlanta, GA, have been nicknamed "Drug Alleys."

If this were not already bad enough, Florida has its share of substance abuse among its residents. In 2007, a survey of Florida residents (it was not indicated if "residents" meant only those people who lived in Florida year-round or if those who held dual residency-in other words "snowbirds"-were also included) was conducted. Some of the figures may be surprising, and should certainly act as a wake-up call, both to Florida residents and anyone else reading this article.

Of 33,339 Florida residents surveyed, 8,802 were found to admit to alcohol abuse. This category only listed those who said that they only drank alcohol; they did not both drink alcohol and use other drugs. 4,143 people admitted to doing that.

Alcohol only abuse had the highest incidence numbers for substance abuse. Cocaine use, where the method of administration (in other ways, the way it was taken into the body) was by smoking was next, with 5,477. Those who admitted to injecting, inhaling, or otherwise using another route to introduce cocaine into the body numbered 1,997.

Marijuana had the next highest rate of substance abuse, with 4,576 Florida residents admitting to its use. 1,535 residents admitted to methamphetamine (meth) use, while 622 residents said they used heroin.
Except for alcohol (both alone and used with other drugs), however, the disparity between use by males and females was not as great as it is for other states.

This is by no means a good thing; those who believe that gender equality should extend to all areas of life probably did not have this particular area in mind. However, it did, in 2007 when this survey was conducted, and still does give the 521 drug and alcohol treatment centers located in Florida insight in how to design and implement their treatment programs.

To give some examples of substance abuse as it pertained to men and women, the greatest disparity was noted, as mentioned earlier, in alcohol only and alcohol and drug use. 72.5% of those who only used alcohol were male as opposed to 27.5% females. Those who admitted to using both drugs and alcohol were 70.2% male, 29.8% female.

One area in which drug use was almost equally split between men and women was in the area of smoked cocaine. 54.6% of men and 45.4% of women admitted to using cocaine in this manner. 61.5% of men and 38.5% of women used cocaine in other ways.

Another area in which females "held their own" (again, not a good thing) was in meth use. In fact, meth use was extremely close to being even split among men and women, with 51.3% of men and 48.7% of women engaging in this dangerous form of substance abuse.

Marijuana use among men was 64.0%; 36.0% women. 67.2% of men admitted to using heroin, as opposed to 32.8% of women.

It must be admitted that the figures on meth are especially disturbing. However, one bright spot, if it can be considered as such, is that Florida residents between the ages of 21 and 25 years old, 22.4% of those admitting to meth abuse and/or addiction sought help for their meth addiction by admitting themselves or allowing themselves to be admitted in at least one of the 521 drug and alcohol treatment centers in the State of Florida.

This may be due in part to the fact that drug and alcohol treatment centers in Florida are as diverse as the residents who call that state their home. This was evident in the number of facilities, both faith-based (espousing the tenets of or supported by a particular religious group or denomination) as secular.

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