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Florida’s Crackdown on Pill Mills Has Led to Rise in Popularity of Synthetic Drugs; Suncoast Rehab Educates on Dangers of These Drugs in Adolescents

Spring Hill, FL (PRWEB) July 23, 2014

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention applauded Florida for 23 percent reduction in prescription drug deaths from 2010 to 2012. Formerly known as “the nation’s medicine cabinet”, Florida was infamous for its minimal monitoring of access to some of the strongest opiates, such as Oxycontin, which often fell into the wrong hands. Florida’s law enforcement launched an initiative to crack down on these rampant pill mills, which are now nearly nonexistent compared to the 65 that existed in the state just a few years ago. (1) With this dramatic decrease in access to prescription drugs, synthetic drugs have surged in popularity, specifically among adolescents. Suncoast Rehabilitation Center speaks up on the dangers of synthetic drugs, and what community members should look out for in order to prevent the infiltration of these drugs into their communities.

Synthetic drugs are known by a number of alternative names, such as “potpourri,” “bath salts,” “spice” and “K2.” These drugs are also marketed to youth under the names of “Scooby Snax” and “Purple Flake.” These seemingly innocent names could not be more deceptive: according to the National Institute of Drug Abuse, synthetic drugs “hijack” the brain’s vital functions that control body temperature, food intake, perception, memory and problem solving. An alarming 11,000 emergency room visits in 2010 were related to a synthetic cannabinoid product, according to the Drug Abuse Warning Network report. An unsettling fact for many parents is that the majority of those involved in these visits were between the ages of 12 to 17. (2)

Upon learning these facts, Attorney General Pam Bondi temporarily outlawed the synthetic drug known as “bath salts.” She has also been working closely with the Florida Legislature to add more synthetic compounds to this outlawing order.

“We will do everything within our power to protect Floridians from the growing threat of synthetic drug abuse,” said Bondi.

Suncoast CEO Tammy Strickling supports Bondi in keeping synthetic drugs off the shelves, and specifically away from adolescents. “Parents and schools should look out for teenagers who appear to be severely agitated or anxious, prone to seizures, frequently nauseous, or are experiencing intense hallucinations,” said Strickling. “These symptoms, taken together, are often the telltale signs of those who are using synthetic drugs.”

Suncoast offers preventative drug education that teaches community members about appropriate responsive measures regarding synthetic drugs which have been gaining popularity in their areas. Strickling maintains that these man-made, synthetic drugs can have negative long-term effects, both psychologically and physiologically, on any adolescents who have been exposed to them. She encourages anyone who knows of someone using these drugs to call their local poison center immediately, and to also alert Attorney General Pam Bondi’s office right away.

“We have to work together with our state agencies to stop this deadly scourge on our Florida communities,” said Strickling. “I support Bondi in her efforts to make Florida safe from synthetic drugs.”

Suncoast treats clients who range in age from teenagers to geriatrics, and will continue to stand up against drug abuse and advocate for stricter laws related to this issue.

To learn more about the Suncoast Rehabilitation Center and its rehab programs, visit

About Suncoast Rehab Center:

Located in Spring Hill, Florida, with a 76% success rate, Suncoast Rehab Center provides long-term residential treatment, intensive sauna detoxification, life skills and cognitive therapy and counseling. Suncoast is licensed by the Florida Department of Children and Families, and was recently awarded a 100% inspection score for the fourth year in a row. Suncoast has a mission to educate youth and adults about drugs and the dangers of drugs, with the aim of preventing future drug use and abuse. Suncoast handles the physical deficiencies, weakness and problems created through drug use, without the use of additional drugs. Clients are helped to uncover the issues that led to their drug use through counseling, therapy and life skills that put the client back in control of his/her life and future. Suncoast’s purpose in drug rehabilitation is to heal the whole person and give the person tools and education to remain drug–free. For more information, visit

1.    Meacham, Andrew. “CDC Report Lauds Florida for Crackdown on ‘pill mills’.” Tampa Bay Times. N.p., 01 July 2014. Web. 08 July 2014.

2.    “Florida Attorney General—Protecting Floridians From Synthetic Drugs.” Florida Attorney General—Protecting Floridians From Synthetic Drugs. N.p., n.d. Web. 08 July 2014.

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