Prevention of Substance Abuse (Alcohol/IV Drug Use/Misuse of Prescription Drugs/Illegal Drug Use) in Broward County, FL

Prevention of Substance Abuse (Alcohol/IV Drug Use/Misuse of Prescription Drugs/Illegal Drug Use) in Broward County, FL

Community Health Nursing Diagnosis Statement

Increased risk of substance abuse among the African American population in Broward County FL related to knowledge deficit as demonstrated by a lack of adherence to government guidelines.

Health Inequity/Disparity

The American healthcare system is best with healthcare disparities that have a significant impact on people of color and marginalized communities. Health disparities represent differences that exist among specific groups and that limit the attainment of full health potential (Dickman et al., 2017). While disparities are interpreted to mean differences in racial or ethnic backgrounds, disparities can exist across other aspects like age, gender, socioeconomic status, geographic location, and many others. Overall health disparities shape an individual’s ability to achieve optimal health and mainly stem from systematic differences among groups in the community. African Americans contribute to about 13.4% of the US population and the existence of health disparities makes it difficult to compete health-wise with their counterparts.

The issue of substance abuse is pervasive in the United States and is a particular problem in Broward County, Florida. Statistics indicate that more than 1.5 million Floridians use illegal drugs each year with alcohol abuse being the leading (Dickman et al., 2017). When conducting site assessments in my community, I found that African Americans were more susceptible to substance abuse because of various reasons. I noticed that socioeconomic status was a key issue in promoting alcoholism and substance abuse in the community. While high socioeconomic status is observed to have high rates of overall consumption, low socioeconomic status contributes to things like binge drinking, alcohol abuse, and alcohol dependence. Socioeconomic status is a combination of factors including education, income, and occupation (Pewtrusts, 2020). I observed that the majority of the individuals abusing substances in the streets were school dropouts or those whose income only compels them to drink. The persistent struggles of African American populations can also explain behaviors like binge drinking and substance use dependence.

The issue of healthcare access can also explain why there is an increasing rate of substance abuse and dependence in Broward County. While surveying the healthcare system in the community, I realized that lack of health insurance contributed to poor access to treatment. For example, African Americans from poor socioeconomic backgrounds exhibited challenges in seeking medical care that could rectify substance abuse issues. According to national statistics, 77% of African Americans are less likely to receive treatment for substance abuse, and even when prescribed drugs they are unable to purchase them (Pewtrusts, 2020). From another perspective, the Food and Drug Agency (FDA) approves the use of methadone and buprenorphine for the management of addiction. The majority of patients are treated with methadone and this requires a daily visit to the hospital to receive treatment. Given the busy schedules of people and how it can be difficult for addicts to commit, it leaves a gap in the treatment of individuals with substance abuse issues.

Primary Community and Prevention Resources 

To address the challenge of substance use in Florida, various federal and state partnership programs are available. The Drug Rehab Services directory identifies 23 different treatment centers in the county. One of these resources is the Orlando Recovery Center which aims at improving the quality of life of people suffering from substance use disorder. The 93-bed facility is dedicated to addressing substance abuse by approaches like medical detox, intensive outpatient treatment, and primary residential treatment. This facility guides individuals through rehab by providing a wide range of activities like yoga, gym, and swimming to allow time to recharge.

Sunrise Detox is the second facility in Broward county that deals with substance use disorder. The facility contains a medical team ready to monitor patients through the process of detoxification. Counselors are readily available to provide emotional support for patients and families and guide patients throughout the process. I observed that the institution has a 24/7 transportation service and the acceptance of major insurances BlueCross and Cigna makes it friendly for diverse populations.

The recovery from addiction is a tough process that requires special care and access to necessary resources. One of the most important centers I came across was the Broward Addiction Recovery Center (BARC). This institution is well recognized to heal individuals, families, and communities impacted by substance use. Accredited by the Joint Commission, BARC is dedicated to continual improvement of services requiring a thorough period of evaluation.

Another key resource for the prevention of substance use in Broward County is the Commission on Behavioral Health and Drug Prevention. This commission has partnerships with government and private institutions to increase awareness about substance use in the region. The commission aims to broker partnerships between federal, state, and local agencies to foster, develop and enhance integrated behavioral health efforts throughout Broward County. Through the use of action teams, the commission has community response teams that work to address the opiate epidemic and other emerging drug issues in the County. The use of youth action teams and meetings organized in major areas sees the education of the community regarding drug and alcohol abuse. I observed that this organization has created advisory units and youth-based initiatives to engage the young generation in refraining from substance abuse.

Underlying Causes

Substance abuse in Broward County and the whole of the US is a battle that affects addicts and those that are not. There have been several attempts to crack down on illicit drug use and prescription, but the solutions are not feasible because of the multifactorial causes of abuse. One of the main reasons why substance abuse is rampant in the area is the easy availability and affordability of drugs. In 2011, the opioid epidemic led to an increased supply of heroin and other related drugs leading to increased circulation. It has been difficult to combat this crisis because of the secret channels used to supply the drugs and their local availability.

Alcohol is the most commonly abused drug in Broward county and its control has paused challenges to healthcare providers and the authorities. The causes of alcohol and other substance abuse are still unknown, but genetics contributes to about 40% to 60 % of the cases (Tsai et al., 2019). Family history can be thought to be among the causes of alcohol abuse and dependence in the county. Apart from genetics, peer influence among school-aged children can be a contributing factor to substance abuse issues.

One of the major causes of substance abuse in Broward County and the rest of the country is low socioeconomic status. Recent research has provided insight into the role of the environment in which children grow and their contribution to substance use. For example, some forms of substance abuse like smoking are highly associated with socioeconomic disadvantage. The majority of teenagers who engage in alcohol r drug use have observed members of the family practice the same (Tsai et al., 2019). For the low socioeconomic background group, issues like stress related to financial struggle lead to indulgence in drinking and illicit drug use. The members of the high socioeconomic class also face a few challenges with substance abuse according to research. For instance, alcohol drinking and addiction are common among high socioeconomic groups and well-educated individuals (Miech et al., 2020). The presence of these socioeconomic gaps in the community contributes to substance abuse and increased prevalence in Broward County.

Understanding the controversy of measuring education influences on substance abuse can help to guide interventions. Education helps people to learn skills and develop perceptions of risks associated with unhealthy behavior. The level of education is found to have an impact on drug and alcohol abuse. For example, evidence-based research links heavy smoking, drinking, and illicit drug use with a low level of education (Miech et al., 2020). Harmful activities like binge drinking and excessive consumption of alcohol are observed among high school or college students with higher levels of education eliminating such behavior. The level of education influences the choice of health behavior individuals make in life and perhaps addressing issues of substance abuse early in life can be the best solution today.

Evidence-Based Practice

Numerous pieces of evidence are available to explain how substance abuse disorders can be successfully managed in hospitals and community settings. The shift towards the management of substance use disorders using evidence-based practices has greatly impacted their control including safe implementation of treatment approaches in primary care settings. One of the highly supported practices for addressing substance use in primary care is the use of group approaches. It is observed that managing problems with addiction and dependence are much easier using group approaches compared to individual therapy (Lopez et al., 2021). Given the importance of understanding group-delivered treatments for substance use, this discussion analyzes evidence from a systematic review of group approaches to the management of substance use disorders.

Lopez and colleagues conducted research to examine the relevance of group approaches to the management of substance use. In their review, the researchers looked for articles describing group approaches to substance use disorders from PsycINFO and MedLine databases. The reviewed articles contained information from studies utilizing at least one group treatment, studies utilizing RCT methodology, and manualized treatment approaches. A total of 50 research studies were reviewed and they described different approaches to substance use management including motivational interviewing, coping skills, recovery training, cognitive therapy, family therapy, and social support. For example, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is an approach that targets specific thoughts and behaviors that precipitate substance abuse. Other approaches like recovery training focus on relapse prevention and may include education on addiction and relapse prevention skills like coping with cravings.

The findings from this study support the use of group approaches to managing addiction and substance use dependence among adults. For example, nine studies focused on group management of cocaine use and it was observed that group therapy modalities reduced cocaine use compared to usual treatments. In another study that focused on the management of methamphetamine use among adults, group approaches like family education, CBT, and social support groups proved to be effective in addressing the parent issue (Lopez et al., 2021). Marijuana use is another drug that was studied in many reviewed articles. The utilization of group approaches, specifically relapse prevention proved to be superior when used within three months of follow-up. Compared to individual treatment of relapse, the use of group therapy approaches reduced the use of marijuana and hastened the recovery of individuals upon treatment.

Despite the use of group approaches to managing substance use disorders, certain factors dictate the efficacy of treatment. Lopez et al. (2019) observed that gender influences how individuals respond to treatment. Five studies from the 50 research articles found that women regardless of the treatment group reported higher role functioning. The performance in areas like independent living, work productivity, and extended social relationships improved faster in women compared to men (Lopez et al., 2021). Another key observation was the role of race and ethnicity in influencing recovery from substance use disorders. The analysis of different research indicated that regardless of group treatment type, racial/ethnic minority groups reported lower scores in personal well-being and satisfaction (Lopez et al., 2021). Overall, participants in group treatment for substance use disorders exhibit more improvement compared to standard care without group interventions. Specifically, CBT is a good approach to reducing illicit drug use among adults.

Identification of Data

Substance use is a major public health challenge that is taking an enormous toll on society. In the United States, the use of drugs including prescription pain relievers, heroin, and synthetic opioids such as fentanyl has become rampant. The federal government and the business community have recognized the negative effects of substance abuse on the US workforce and the economy. Today, data indicates that more than 27 million Americans are misusing illicit drugs and nearly a quarter of adults and adolescents reported binge drinking in the past month (McLellan, 2017). These activities contribute to the huge healthcare costs associated with the treatment of patients. For instance, the US Department of Health and Human Services (2022) indicates that the annual cost of alcohol misuse is $249 billion while illicit drug use accounts for $193 billion in annual spending. These statistics indicate the amount of healthcare spending used to manage substance use annually and how they impair the delivery of other important treatments.

Substance use, if left untreated places a burden on the workplace, healthcare system, and communities. Apart from the healthcare costs described above, those abusing drugs impair productivity in society. For example, about 67% of the employed are current users of either alcohol or other drugs making it difficult to produce the required results ( US Department of Health and Human Services, 2022). These individuals are likely to be absent from work or leave their stations earlier. According to national statistics, individuals using drugs are more than twice likely to report working for three or more employers for the past year compared to their counterparts. Additionally, drug users are more than twice likely to skip one or more work days in the past month compared to non-users (McLellan, 2017). For teenagers, drug use impacts their performance and non-users are more than twice likely to report an average grade of “A” compared to drug users. Other issues resulting from drug use include missed school days, violence, and accidents that cost lives.

Social Media Campaign Objective

The objective of this social media campaign is to increase awareness of the available substance use prevention programs among more than 70% of African American users in Broward County within the next three months.

Description: Alcohol and drug use prevention can use the approach of increasing awareness about the available local and national resources for users. The social media campaign aims at increasing awareness of the various local resource available in Broward county where drug users can seek help. Within three months, the social media campaign targets to increase awareness among more than 70% of the youths and adults who use alcohol or other illicit drugs. The result is increased seeking of help from these service centers, especially among the youths, and a reduction in the number of people using drugs in the county.

Social Marketing Interventions 

Education. Choosing the right approach to drug education is a key task for all stakeholders in the field of prevention. Education to the affected community about substance use and its consequences is an important strategy to increase awareness about the need to change. During the social media campaign, education will be used as a marketing strategy for the prevention programs available in Broward County and how they can benefit affected individuals. Focusing on adolescents and adults, substance use education will emphasize both formative and informative aspects of drug use. The purpose of using this strategy is to ensure that every individual gets to understand the need for improving their practices. Education will enlighten individuals about the impact of substance abuse on their health and the economy. The campaign will also educate individuals about the resources near them that can be utilized to improve their substance use practices and boost the morale of those seeking rehabilitation.

Networking. Given the popularity of social media, networking is a marketing strategy that helps to build relationships with potential customers. The goal of the social media campaign is to spread information about the available resources to manage substance use to more than 70% of the users. Given that there are several social media platforms, networking will help in reaching many people at a time rather than depending on one platform. Networking serves to increase referrals or sales leads, build word of mouth, and provide a means of feedback to the users. Apart from this intervention, networking can help to link the campaign with important business partners that may be interested in the issue of substance use in Broward county. Networking can easily increase the popularity of the social media campaign and ensure the vast majority get to know about the program.

Description of Social Media Platform 

Facebook. With the increasing number of social media users each year, it is important to recognize the best networks to use for marketing. According to the latest reports, Facebook is the most popular platform in the US with nearly three in four adults using it. This social media platform is appropriate because it is easily accessible. The Facebook pages let businesses identify themselves, not just through listing items, but also through sharing links, images, and posts. I believe this platform will be able to reach the youths who spend most of their time online. Secondly. Facebook allows advertisement through ads that run on the side of Facebook pages. The adverts can be tailored to pop on specific locations, individuals, and interests. Using other features like live broadcasts, this platform will be a reliable source of information for millions of users.

Instagram. Instagram is the second most popular social media platform in the US with three in five adults using it. Instagram’s primary advantage over other social media platforms is its visual nature. The platform is interesting to use and youths may find it useful on many occasions. Instagram is centered on stories and people love stories. This platform can be used to spread the experiences of those who benefit from substance use prevention programs and encourage those willing to start the journey. Secondly, sharing visual content will be the best way to build a long-lasting relationship with the target audience. Showing how others deal with an issue like addiction and the services provided in rehab facilities is likely to be of influence to most people.

Best Practices for Social Media

Maintaining a consistent, engaging presence is one of the key best practices when utilizing social media platforms. It is important during marketing to regularly post to the audience and give the same quality of information that got the attention of users. The marketer should consider brand personality traits like sincerity, excitement, and competence when presenting information to the people (Vásquez & Escamilla., 2014). Forming a unique identity for the campaign will require the creation of a tone that can capture the target audience. Apart from these aspects, the language of communication will be a key factor that will be influenced by the target audience. For example, matters of health will require the use of formal language that demonstrates seriousness to the health of individuals. It is important to note that customers hold high expectations in terms of how brands conduct themselves on social media.

Building a presence on the right social media platform is another best practice that should be observed during campaigns. For example, a good marketer should choose from a variety of platforms and identify those that can meet the target audience (Vásquez & Escamilla., 2014). It is not recommended to use every platform to succeed including jumping to the newest platforms. Focusing on creating thoughtful content on a few platforms will serve the marketer better than posting across every platform. Another key practice that can help grow the audience is auditing performances. For example, running a monthly social media audit and experimenting to post content on different days can increase awareness of what works best.

 Stakeholder Roles and Responsibilities 

Broward County’s Commission on Behavioral Health & Drug Prevention (UWBCCBH). As the primary stakeholder in this social media campaign, the county department of health will serve to guide the implementation of the program. This commission serves to create a partnership with state, federal, and local agencies while searching for innovative and effective ways to address drug use issues in the county. Through the UWBCCBH surveillance committee, there will be sharing of emerging issues on the social media platform and the county website regarding the issue of substance abuse. To date, over 1 million Broward county residents have been reached by prevention media awareness campaigns and educational programs. This commission will provide the financial assistance required to implement the program and provide expertise in ways to reach the target population.

Florida Department of Health. The State department of health has long been involved in the fight against substance use and its negative effects on society. Through the Substance Abuse and Mental Health (SAMH) Program, this organization will help to provide relevant statistics about the state of substance use ad its consequences. The involvement of the state department in the social media campaign will increase awareness of the need to improve substance use practices and the available centers for treatment.

Potential Public and Private Partnerships 

Public and private partnerships are recognized to lead to the successful implementation of changes in healthcare. Partnership with UWBCCBH will ensure the availability of government support in implementing the social media campaign. The county commission will be tasked with providing financial support and increasing awareness of the campaign through their outreach programs.

The private partnership will involve Broward Addiction Recovery Center (BARC) which is recognized as the number one institution for spearheading the recovery from addiction. This organization will help in organizing the social media campaign and generating advertisements like videos to motivate viewers. The organization will also provide testimonies of those who have recovered from addiction and encourage users to seek treatment.

Implementation Timeline

The implementation of the social media campaign is set to take three months. The first month will involve laying down a plan, recruiting volunteers, reaching out to stakeholders, and communicating the plan. Weekly discussions with the stakeholders will be done initially to lay down an implementation plan for the campaign.

The second month will involve designing the Facebook and Instagram pages that will be used for the campaign. The UWBCCBH will assist in designing the pages and ensuring their protection. The next phase will involve the gathering of data concerning the number of affected individuals, the target population, and their location. The state department of health will provide necessary data to ensure the social media campaign is tailored to the right individuals.

The third month will involve the launching of the campaign and the collection of data. Daily posts will be made regarding the issue of substance abuse and the available centers that can be used to help those willing to change. Weekly evaluations will follow to ensure the goals are met and any changes are made.

How to Evaluate Effectiveness

The method of evaluation will involve comparing the baseline data of individuals visiting recognized facilities for assistance against the new data. The state department of health will provide data before the implementation of the social media campaign and collect new data upon completion of the campaign. Because social media platforms will be utilized, an online questionnaire will be used to allow participants to share their experiences. This strategy will demonstrate increased awareness about substance use and the available resources to prevent substance use in Broward County.

Cost of Implementation

The cost of implementing the social media campaign will be minimal. Direct costs will include recruitment of volunteers, organizing weekly meetings, data collection, social media platform designs, and internet bundles for posting information. The total cost of the social media campaign is estimated to be $1000.

Reflection on Social Media Marketing

Social media connects nurses to an array of professional resources. Community health nurses can utilize social media platforms to detect common problems facing the community and organize campaigns to reach the target population. Social media platforms like LinkedIn post highly relevant research articles that contain evidence-based practices (Reinbeck & Antonacci., 2019). Community health nurses can stay up-to-date with current academic trends and communicate the information to their patients.

Reflection on Future Nursing Practice

Nurses can use social media to their advantage in many ways. In my future practice, I intend to use these platforms to connect with an array of professional resources. Following groups, individuals, and organizations can provide up-to-minute information about nursing trends (Reinbeck & Antonacci., 2019). Additionally, a wide niche of pages exists for nurses to find information about their professional interests. I will use these platforms to connect to larger communities like the CDC and perhaps seek employment through the adverts posted.


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