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Florida — And Broward — Will Get More Federal Funding To Combat The Opioid Crisis

Vivitrol is the injectible form of the generic drug called Naltrexone. It can cost between $1,100 and $1,600 for a one-month dose.
Vivitrol is the injectible form of the generic drug called Naltrexone. It can cost between $1,100 and $1,600 for a one-month dose.

Broward County is about to get more money for programs helping people fight their opioid addictions. The federal government set aside nearly $1 billion to fight the opioid crisis nationwide this year. Florida is set to receive $49.3 million from those funds, of which  an estimated $7-10 million is going to Broward County.

County officials don’t know yet exactly how much they will get. 

Broward will have to decide how to allocate any funds before knowing how much they will recieve because counties and providers are required to start spending the money and providing services with it beginning Oct. 1.

Garry Smyth, the chief operating officer of  Fifth Street Counseling Center, a Broward addiction treatment facility, believes the best strategy for using the money is to beef up treatment programs that are already well-established rather than trying to build new ones. He's also on two state boards that help distribute funding for the opioid crisis: the Florida Alcohol and Drug Abuse Association () and the  Florida Behavioral Health Association.

"Find the providers that are already doing the work and find out if they are willing and able to scale up their operations,” he said.

Broward County recently started offering a type of medication-assisted treatment for people struggling to beat opioid addictions: Vivitrol. It’s a name-brand injection that works by reducing opioid cravings in the brain. 

Vivitrol programs offered at county-run facilities began in January.

Read More: Controlling Addiction With Prescription Drugs: Broward Takes Stock Of Vivitrol Use

The federal grant will go toward funding more Vivitrol treatment programs across Broward, as well as other medication treatments, like methadone and buprenorphine – both of which are opioid derivatives.

The money can go toward housing and faith-based organizations offering therapy. 

"The language is very broad as to who can participate," Smyth said. "Profits, non-profits, faith-based organizations ... it's the full continuum of care for substance abuse disorders."

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Caitie Switalski is a rising senior at the University of Florida. She's worked for WFSU-FM in Tallahassee as an intern and reporter. When she's in Gainesville for school, Caitie is an anchor and producer for local Morning Edition content at WUFT-FM, as well as a digital editor for the station's website. Her favorite stories are politically driven, about how politicians, laws and policies effect local communities. Once she graduates with a dual degree in Journalism and English,Caitiehopes to make a career continuing to report and produce for NPR stations in the sunshine state. When she's not following what's happening with changing laws, you can catchCaitielounging in local coffee shops, at the beach, or watching Love Actually for the hundredth time.