The number of opioid-related deaths in Florida increased 35 percent in 2016 according to a report released last week by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. The report, based on data collected from medical examiners across the state, finds that overdose deaths caused by the power synthetic opioid fentanyl shot up 97 percent last year and that the presence of fentanyl in overdose victims increased 80 percent. We talk with Lee Health Emergency Department physician Dr. Aaron Wohl, Director of Residential Programs at SalusCare Steven Hill, and Chief Medical Examiner for Florida’s 12th Judicial Circuit Dr. Russell Vega.
Florida's opioid addiction crisis, already declared a "public health emergency" by Gov. Rick Scott, now faces a funding crisis: a $20.4 million federal block grant for substance abuse and mental health unexpectedly ended, leaving Florida lawmakers scrambling to find funding while treatment providers struggle to treat a growing crisis with fewer resources.