Addiction

Dennis Yip via Flickr Creative Commons

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.

Photo: Public Domain via Pixabay

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. 

Florida service providers are wasting no time taking advantage of nearly $30 million in federal money for addressing the opioid epidemic.

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New information on drug overdose deaths from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement shows staggering increases in deaths linked to opioid abuse in Florida.

In an annual report released late last year, FDLE found deaths from drugs like heroin claimed 779 lives in Florida in 2015; an increase in more than 75 percent from the prior year.

More powerful opioids like fentanyl saw similar increases: over 900 deaths were linked to the super-potent painkiller, an increase of nearly 70 percent.

China is the source of deadly fentanyl that’s fueling an opioid overdose epidemic in South Florida and elsewhere in the United States.

That’s the finding of the new report released Wednesday by the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission entitled Fentanyl: China’s Deadly Export to the United States.

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