If you’ve been researching different drug rehab options online, by now you have probably noticed that quite a lot of these programs are in Florida. You might be wondering why. How did so many drug rehab facilities in Florida come about? Why would someone looking for drug rehab in Massachusetts jump on a plane and fly to Florida? Better Tomorrow Treatment Center will answer all of those questions and more in this blog.
How Was Addiction Treated in the Past?
Prior to the early 20th century, drug and alcohol treatment was handled pretty much exclusively by hospitals and sometimes psychiatric hospitals called sanitariums. The well-meaning professionals in these hospitals and sanitariums did their level best to help, but the truth is their success rates were pretty dismal. They could sober someone up, sure enough. But helping people stay off the alcohol and drugs after they were well enough to go home is where they really fell short. Doctors and psychiatrists alike were mystified by the phenomenon of addiction. It was largely misunderstood.
Most people saw it as a moral failing or a lack of discipline or character. More charitable people may have seen it as a sort of insanity that was no fault of the sufferer, but “incurable” nonetheless. If someone was deep enough in addiction and could not stop under their own will, their future was almost certainly seen to be bleak.
When it came to alcohol, after a point, doctors would even prepare weary and exasperated wives and husbands for what they saw as inevitable. They would be told their spouse would almost certainly either drink themselves to death or need to be permanently institutionalized after developing Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome (aka ‘wet brain’). It was a dire state of affairs to be sure.
Hope for People with Alcoholism and Addiction
Then in the early 1930s came Dr. Silkworth, Towns Hospital in NYC and Alcoholics Anonymous/ Dr. William Duncan Silkworth was a physician who became one of the first experts on alcohol addiction. He was the first prominent member of the medical community to propose the idea that alcohol addiction was a disease of the mind, rather than a moral failing or lack of willpower.
Devoting most of his time to treating alcoholism, he crossed paths with Bill Wilson and an Ohio proctologist named Dr. Bob Smith. Dr. Silkworth discovered that these two men were having great success in reforming alcoholics where no one else had before. Silkworth would later contribute “The Doctor’s Opinion” prologue to the Alcoholics Anonymous text which helped the disease model of addiction reach millions of people and eventually, worldwide acceptance.
The 12-step model was later adopted by a man named Jimmy Kinnon in California in 1953 when he created Narcotics Anonymous. The NA fellowship arose out of a need for a program where people addicted to substances other than alcohol could feel comfortable and benefit from the same principles that had save so many in AA over the years.
How Alcohol and Drug Rehabs Began
With the promise of long-term recovery for alcohol addicts arising for the first time, the medical community began to seek new treatment models. Alcohol addiction was no longer a death sentence. As the early members of Alcoholics Anonymous began to put together year after year of not only sobriety, but living with purpose to help others with the same affliction, the family members of alcoholics had hope for the first time.
This is when the modern addiction treatment center began to evolve. One of the very first was Hazelden, founded in Minnesota in 1949. Unlike the hospitals and sanitariums of the past, these new treatment centers would treat people for 28 days on average, introduce them to Alcoholics Anonymous and prepare them for a life in recovery.
Over time, news of their success spread and more facilities began to open. Another prominent example was the Betty Ford Center opening in Rancho Mirage, California in 1982.
Why Are There So Many Drug Rehabs in Florida?
The State of Florida has more alcohol and drug rehabs than any other. Why is that? Does Florida have more people with substance use disorders than any other state? No. The reason why there are so many drug rehabs in Florida are complex. The phenomenon began to evolve in the mid-80s and addiction treatment saw subsequent booms in Florida in the 1990s. A large part of the reason is Florida’s status as a vacation destination. Florida’s close proximity to the major northeast population centers, combined with mild weather year-round made it an attractive option for a getaway.
Florida also already had excellent hospitals and medical care and lots of talented doctors and clinicians. The major cities of the northeast and midwest are where the greatest concentration of people with addiction are found. Florida is a short, usually non-stop, flight from all of them. Getting out of town allows people who need help both the opportunity to get away from negative influences for a while and the chance to protect their privacy by receiving treatment away from home. As the drug treatment field grew in Florida, the state government did what it could to encourage it and remove obstacles to its success.
Alcohol and Drug Treatment Begin to Evolve in Florida
Because Florida had so many treatment centers for addiction and a state government which was willing to help them succeed, it became the place where the most innovation in addiction treatment was happening. Treatment facilities continued to follow the practices proven to be effective, including involvement with 12-step fellowships like Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous. But they also invented new and better ways to treat addiction and they continue to today.
One of the most well-known is the ‘Florida Model’ of treatment. In the past, alcohol and drug rehab programs were housed in hospitals, clinics or centers where patients would sleep, eat and live throughout their treatment. While this form of inpatient treatment was necessary during the detox phase (and sometimes longer in acute cases), many patients did not need 24 hour medical supervision. People found that the inpatient-only model could be cost prohibitive. Health insurance companies were reluctant to pay for any more days of treatment than they thought were absolutely necessary.
The Florida Model of Addiction Treatment
Patients and their families couldn’t always afford to pay for more. Furthermore, many patients didn’t like the feeling of being “institutionalized” for a month or more. Florida addiction treatment pioneers, like Better Tomorrow, realized that there was a correlation between more time in treatment and greater successes at long-term recovery. But the old model was denying thousands of people a longer period of treatment.
The ‘Florida Model’ evolved from this perceived need. It provided clients with stable and safe sober living accommodations where they could reside in a much more home-like setting while continuing treatment at the Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP) and Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP) levels of care.
This resulted in more people being able to come to Florida for treatment, getting away from people, places and things. More than that, it gave people recovering from substance use disorders more time in treatment in a more cost effective way. It also gave them a living environment that didn’t feel like living in a hospital for a month or more.
The ‘Florida Model’ of treatment became wildly popular due to its affordability and effectiveness. Today, this model is practice in many places outside of Florida, but Florida remains the epicenter of addiction treatment advances and the recovery capital of the world.
It’s Time for a Better Tomorrow
If you or someone you love is living with a substance use disorder, Better Tomorrow Treatment Center wants to help! But we can only help if you call. We’re ready to listen! Give us a call at (844) 989-1451 and find out what Better Tomorrow can do for you and the people you love most.