Increased Precautions We're Taking in Response to COVID-19

LAST UPDATED ON 12/17/2020

As updates on the impact of the coronavirus continue to be released, we want to take a moment to inform you of the heightened preventative measures we have put in place at North Tampa Behavioral Health Hospital to keep our patients, their families, and our employees safe. All efforts are guided by and in adherence to the recommendations distributed by the CDC.

Please note that for the safety of our patients, their families, and our staff, on-site visitation is no longer allowed at North Tampa Behavioral Health Hospital.

  • This restriction has been implemented in compliance with updated corporate and state regulations to further reduce the risks associated with COVID-19.
  • Options for telehealth visitation are continuously evaluated so that our patients can remain connected to their loved ones.
  • Alternate methods of communication for other services may be offered when deemed clinically appropriate.

For specific information regarding these changes and limitations, please contact us directly.

CDC updates are consistently monitored to ensure that all guidance followed is based on the latest information released.

  • All staff has received infection prevention and control training.
  • Thorough disinfection and hygiene guidance has been provided.
  • Patient care supplies such as masks and hand sanitizer are being monitored and utilized.
  • Temperature and symptom screening protocols are in place for all patients and staff.
  • Social distancing strategies have been implemented to ensure that patients and staff maintain proper distance from one another at all times.
  • Cleaning service contracts have been reviewed for additional support.
  • Personal protective equipment items are routinely checked to ensure proper and secure storage.
  • CDC informational posters are on display to provide important reminders on proper infection prevention procedures.
  • We are in communication with our local health department to receive important community-specific updates.

The safety of our patients, their families, and our employees is our top priority, and we will remain steadfast in our efforts to reduce any risk associated with COVID-19.

The CDC has provided a list of easy tips that can help prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue and then immediately dispose of the tissue.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Clean and disinfect objects and surfaces that are frequently touched.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Stay home when you are sick, except to get medical care.

For detailed information on COVID-19, please visit

New Lethal Opioid: U-47700 or its street name, ‘Pinky’ rising in Florida

As the opioid epidemic continues to weave a dangerous trail throughout the United States, overwhelming a countless amount of cities, including Tampa and its surrounding communities, another new type of substance is adding to the gravitas of the problem and claiming lives in its wake.

U-47700, also known as “pinky” or “pink,” is a synthetic opioid that is said to be eight times more potent than morphine. Despite the fact that this substance has been the cause of a number of recent deaths in the country, it remains legal in most states.

Reporter Max Blau from CNN explains that U-47700 was originally created to be a substitute for the painkiller morphine. It was never tested on humans, never received approval from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and, therefore, never became available on the market. Instead, it remained classified as a research chemical.

Unfortunately, manufacturers in the foreign drug trade became privy to the formula of the substance and began creating it and selling it on the internet. Currently, these purchases are considered legal and are shipped to the buyer in the form of powder, pills, or nasal spray.

The Rise of the Epidemic

Opioid substances, which include heroin, prescription painkillers, and a number of synthetic drugs, have a long-standing history with drug users. As the abuse of prescription painkillers became more prevalent, the number of people using heroin decreased. But as steps were taken to control the misuse of painkillers by limiting the number of prescriptions that physicians can write, the number of people who began using heroin increased. This cycle then took another turn as drug cartels began distributing synthetic derivatives of opioid substances in order to market a more potent high.

The consumption of U-47700 can elicit feelings of euphoria, which is what draws users’ interest. The substance can also make individuals feel numb and experience profound feelings of sedation. Professionals have noted that the effects of the substance can be extremely detrimental, not only placing one’s health at risk, but also causing them to lose a sense of reality, resulting in the onset of psychosis.

Even in small doses U-47700 is incredibly toxic, and has resulted in the deaths of dozens of people throughout the country. Even still, it has only been outlawed in four states, with Florida most recently joining the ban initiated in Ohio, Wyoming, and Georgia.

Not far from Tampa, in Pinellas County, five people died as a direct result of consuming U-47700. Florida Attorney General, Pam Bondi, placed an emergency order outlawing U-47700 after it reportedly killed at least eight people in the state. Under the order, individuals who are in possession of U-47700 can be punished as a third-degree felony, which can carry a jail sentence of as many as five years.

Added Concern

In addition to drawing the intrigue of new and current users of other types of opioids, the availability of U-47700 can also pose a threat to the sobriety of those in recovery. Whenever a person has struggled with an addiction to any type of substance, he or she is always at risk for experiencing a relapse. Addiction is a disease, and although individuals have the ability to fully recover from their compulsions to abuse substances, temptation is something that they will likely have to fight for the rest of their lives.

When a new drug is introduced, such as U-47700, individuals who are in recovery may be tempted by falsities that surround the drug itself. For example, because this particular substance is legal in all but four states, some individuals may see it as being a safe drug to use. So while they have already overcome their battle with another form of addiction, the possibility of possessing a substance that can induce a high, while still allowing them to remain safe, can be extremely tempting.

The problem, however, is that this drug is not safe. And not only are they giving up their sobriety by consuming it, they are also placing their lives at risk.

Fighting the Epidemic

In order to address the detriments that the exposure of so many opioid substances has elicited, local treatment centers such as ones in Wesley Chapel, Pasco County and Tampa, Florida must be one step ahead of the community in understanding the dangers associated with newly emerging drugs. By understanding the crisis at hand, addiction treatment professionals can offer programming options that are tailored to meet the needs that this crisis has elicited.

For those who have recently been exposed to U-47700 or other types of opioid substances, or for those who have been long-time users of these drugs, receiving care in order to overcome their addictions is imperative. Whether it be at the inpatient or outpatient level, engaging in treatment is essential. Additionally, by offering options for continuing care services, treatment centers can give individuals access to supports that they can utilize after they have exited treatment.

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North Tampa Behavioral Health was the only treatment near me that was able to help me make the breakthrough I needed. I can't recommend them enough!

– Diana F.
Marks of Quality Care
  • Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS)
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  • The Joint Commission (JCAHO) Gold Seal of Approval
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