Treatment is critical for reaching recovery. Luckily, Melbourne and surrounding cities offer numerous safe and supportive rehab centers for people battling drug and alcohol addiction. The area also features many support groups, such as Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous, for those in recovery.
Sally’s House provides substance abuse treatment, family enrichment programs and recovery housing to women looking to achieve or maintain sobriety. Sally’s House allows mothers to keep their children with them as they strengthen their recovery and improve their parenting skills.
The Green Houses, Inc. is a faith-based recovery home that helps people sustain sobriety through counseling and therapy. Clientele ranges from people in recovery to those struggling with other life problems. The organization offers volunteer opportunities to its clients and provides them with transportation to destinations throughout Brevard County.
Since 2013, the organization has helped numerous people in recovery. Several former residents share their experiences on the Green Houses website.
Mark Dooner had been sober for three years before relapse. In response, he turned to the Green Houses.
“My relapse left me completely demoralized and full of shame and regret,” said Dooner on the website. “[The Green Houses Director Edward Green] offered me a bed at his newcomer house, and for that I will be eternally grateful.”
Dooner said the house provided him and others a safe place to recover. Each morning, he would meditate. He attended 90 meetings in 90 days, which helped him connect with residents in similar situations. He said daily chores gave him structure, and volunteering helped him give back to the community.
“It has now been 16 months since I have had a drink or a drug, and I cannot stress this enough how much the Green House has played a part in my recovery,” said Dooner. “The house and the program gave me a strong foundation to continue my recovery.”
Another former resident, Ricky P., began his road to recovery in 2011. However, he could not maintain sobriety beyond 60 days. He said his life changed upon joining the Green Houses in February 2012, when he developed a desire to sustain long-term sobriety.
“I know that God has blessed me with a new way of life, but surely my higher power put Eddie in my life to help guide me and get me on the road to recovery,” said Ricky P.
The Oxford House is a democratically run, self-supporting and drug-free environment for those looking to sustain sobriety. The nonprofit houses men, women and children. It uses efficient, low cost methods to prevent relapse. At any given time, about 10,000 people are living at Oxford Houses across the United States.
For Melbourne residents or for people who have chosen to make Melbourne their home after recovery, the Melbourne area offers a growing population and growing job opportunities. According to Forbes list of America’s Fastest-Growing Cities in 2017, the Melbourne area ranked at #15.
CareerSource Brevard helps people, including young adults, veterans and military spouses, find employment. The organization features dozens of programs aimed to help people get back to work, improve their skills or establish new careers. These programs may include career assessments, counseling and employment workshops.
The organization also counsels displaced, mature and disabled workers and guides them through job-related challenges.
Goodwill Industries of Central Florida offers job development opportunities to area residents. The Job Connection Center in Melbourne provides assistance for those looking to improve vocational skills or search for employment. The organization offers career counseling and provides assistance in resume writing and computer training. These locations also assist with applying and interviewing for jobs. Melbourne residents can attend on-site employer recruiting events through a job-connection center.
Substance abuse in Brevard County is an issue. During the 2014–15 fiscal year, there were 1,268 felony drug crimes, according to The Office of Economic and Demographic Research. Area prisons committed 135 individuals in 2015 for drug-related charges. However, reports show that substance abuse has been particularly problematic for Brevard County youths.
Drug and alcohol abuse is common among Brevard County students. The 2014 Florida Youth Substance Abuse Survey for Brevard County indicated area students have used substances including marijuana, prescription painkillers, methamphetamine, LSD, PCP and mushrooms.
Reported Lifetime Use Among Brevard County High School Students, 2014
Alcohol is the most commonly used substance among surveyed Brevard County students. Marijuana and cigarettes were the next most commonly used substances. The survey showed 17.7 percent of surveyed high school students in 2014 reported blacking out from drinking on one or more occasion, and 8.9 percent of students reported using synthetic marijuana at least once.
However, just 1.2 percent of high school students reported lifetime use of cocaine or crack cocaine, and 0.4 percent reported lifetime use of heroin.
Other key findings include:
Twelve percent of Brevard County students reported marijuana or hashish use, 2.6 percent reported using depressants and 1.9 percent reported use of prescription painkillers in the past 30 days. Eight percent of students reported binge drinking in the past two weeks.
More than half of high schoolers who consumed alcohol in the past 30 days reported someone else gave them a drink — a higher figure than the state average. Students also obtained alcohol by purchasing it from a store, bar, restaurant, club or public event, taking it from a family member or having someone else buy it for them.
|Another person’s home||46.1%|
|The student’s home||33%|
|Car or other vehicle||0.4%|
|Restaurant, bar or club||1.5%|
|Some other place||10.9%|
Brevard County students use drugs before or during school at a higher rate than the state average, according to the survey. Before or during school in 2014, 6.3 percent of students used alcohol, 10 percent of students used marijuana and 3.3 percent of students used other drugs.
The Melbourne area has been hit with numerous drug crimes in the past few years.
A Melbourne man was spotted acting suspiciously in a neighborhood while high on Flakka in 2015. The drug is a synthetic cathinone that causes rapid heart rate, psychosis and extreme aggression. After attempting to stab a cop with the officer’s own badge, the man was eventually subdued.
In 2016, a four-month investigation led to the arrests of nearly 40 people in Cocoa, Florida, for illegal drug activity. Cocoa police charged these individuals with crimes ranging from possession of cocaine and drug paraphernalia to trespassing.
Also in 2016, police arrested two Titusville High School football coaches for conspiracy to distribute controlled substances and possession with intent to distribute. The drugs involved in the conspiracy included fentanyl, cocaine and heroin.
Many government agencies and nonprofit organizations strive to reduce drug and alcohol abuse in Brevard County through various initiatives. These programs may include educational materials, prevention tactics, moral support and treatment admission.
Brevard County Sheriff’s Office implements multiple programs designed to prevent youth drug and alcohol abuse. Brevard S.T.O.P.P.E.D. is a program intended to reduce vehicular crashes among youths. The department holds a drug-free calendar contest where children learn about the dangers of substance abuse and the benefits of being drug free.
The sheriff’s office also carries out Brevard Attitude Modification, a program that places individuals ages 10 and older in a jail-like setting. The 12-hour program aims to show children and teens the consequences of substance abuse, poor attitudes, bad decisions and committing crimes. The sheriff’s office also teaches these adolescents how to deal with peer pressure and make positive choices.
The department holds a drug disposal event each year, allowing area residents to safely and properly dump unwanted or expired prescription medications. Nearby law enforcement agencies accept prescription, over-the-counter and pet medications. Pills, ointments and lotions may also be discarded. All medications to be disposed of must be left in the original package or secured in a sealable plastic bag.
The Haven for Children meets the needs of neglected, abused and abandoned children in Brevard County and Central Florida through therapeutic care. The organization provides a homelike environment to children with emotional, physical or developmental delays resulting from family substance abuse or a lack of parental care.
The organization supports its mission to help at-risk children with government programs, professional services, trained staff members, volunteers, private donations and community fundraising. The Haven for Children has three homes that serve about 10 children each.
To Write Love On Her Arms is a Melbourne-based organization that helps people battling depression, addiction, self-injury or suicidal thoughts. The nonprofit encourages, informs and inspires these individuals during trying times.
The organization operates under the belief that everyone was created to love and be loved, people need each other, everyone’s story is important, better days are ahead, and hope and help are real. Since 2006, the nonprofit has responded to 180,000 messages from people all over the world and has donated more than $1.5 million to treatment and recovery.
Its representatives have traveled more than 3 million miles to meet with people. They have also shared more than 600 blog posts from contributors willing to share their stories.
Brevard C.A.R.E.S. is a child abuse prevention program that strives to protect children, strengthen families and change lives. These goals are accomplished through a comprehensive system of care for abused, abandoned and neglected children. The organization uses numerous programs to help families before a crisis occurs. An important aspect of the program is Family Team Conferencing, which teaches families to develop and use plans to ensure the health and welfare of their children. Brevard C.A.R.E.S. has supported more than 8,000 children and more than 2,700 families in Brevard County. Its website provides readers with substance abuse prevention resources.
Eckerd Kids Hi-Five is a program intended to provide character education and violence and substance abuse prevention services to elementary and middle school students in Brevard County. The program teaches students to control impulses, manage anger and cope with peer pressure. A Harvard University study found that the Hi-Five model positively impacts student behaviors at nearly twice the rate of similar programs in the United States.
Brevard Drug Court gives drug offenders the opportunity to treat their substance abuse problems as an alternative to incarceration. A drug court judge monitors the offender’s progress and dismisses his or her charge upon completion of the program. The program holds drug offenders accountable while allowing them to receive treatment.
Drug court participants go through three stages. The first stage is intensive drug treatment. If they show compliance during this stage, they will be eligible for the second phase, which involves less-intensive treatment. Individuals who show progress during stage two will enter the final stage: aftercare.
Everyone in the program must also complete 50 hours of community service. Upon completion of the three phases and community service, individuals are eligible for graduation.
2-1-1 Brevard is a community hotline that provides information and assistance during emotional, financial and community crises. Brevard County residents can simply call 2-1-1 to talk with a helpline specialist about grief, relationship problems, depression or suicidal thoughts. Callers can also find ways to volunteer or donate money or items to local organizations.
Higher learning institutions in the Melbourne area do their part to reduce and prevent substance abuse. These schools offer everything from counseling services to educational seminars designed to spread awareness about the dangers of drug and alcohol abuse.
The Florida Institute of Technology implements numerous initiatives to combat substance abuse among its students. The institution uses a campus-based parental notification policy, which informs parents of their child’s second alcohol-related violation. Also, the Holzer Health Center offers examinations, treatment and other minor procedures to faculty, staff and students.
FIU also hosts Alcohol Awareness Week. During this time, students receive educational materials outlining the dangers of binge drinking. The event also educates students on college drinking misconceptions.
In addition, FIU:
The institution’s counseling facility, Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS), is available for students. CAPS strives to promote academic, vocational and emotional health. The facility also researches alcohol and drug-related issues.
Eastern Florida State College understands substance abuse affects the health, safety and security of its students. EFSCares offers free, 24/7 counseling services to EFSC students and employees. The BayCare Student Assistance Program provides resources to help students overcome challenges that may impede their academic performance. The BayCare Employee Assistance Program helps employees manage stress ranging from work issues to familial problems. EFSC also outlines the dangers of drug use in its annual notification to faculty, staff and students.