Florida Responds to Opioid Crisis by Declaring Statewide Emergency

Last month, Florida Governor Rick Scott signed an executive order declaring a public health emergency in response to a statewide opioid epidemic, allowing Florida to accept a federal grant worth more than $54 million over the next two years.(1) Novus Medical Detox Center, a leading Florida-based drug treatment facility, applauds the move for its potential to help more Floridians transition into treatment and recovery, but notes that further efforts are needed on a national level to resolve the current U.S. opioid crisis.

Drug overdoses claimed the lives of 3,228 Floridians in 2015, while the overdose death rate increased 22.7% over the previous year.(2) Opioids alone caused 2,538 deaths statewide in 2015, and contributed to an additional 1,358 fatalities.(1) In total, Florida medical examiners documented 3,896 occurrences of prescription opioids, methadone and/or heroin as a primary cause of death, whether alone or in combination, and 3,397 additional occurrences in which opioids were present in the decedent’s system at time of death.(3)

“Florida’s staggering opioid overdose statistics are not an anomaly, but rather a symptom of a larger national epidemic. This problem won’t go away on its own; it requires ongoing interventions at the federal, state and local levels,” asserted Bryn Wesch, CFO of Novus Medical Detox Center. “Governor Scott has taken a critical first step in declaring a state of emergency over the opioid crisis and accepting a federal grant to fund prevention, treatment and recovery services. The next step is to reach out to Floridians struggling with substance use disorders and connect them to appropriate opioid treatment programs.”

According to a 2016 report by U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, substance use disorders affect 20.8 million Americans; yet only 1 in 10 receive any…

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