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Figures from a U.S. government survey released Friday show some progress in the fight against the ongoing opioid addiction crisis with fewer people in 2017 using heroin for the first time compared to the previous year.

Last year saw 1,642 opioid overdoses treated in Broward County emergency rooms. And 85 percent of those cases were overdoses on heroin.

A Palm Beach Post investigation has uncovered Florida's role in igniting the country’s heroin epidemic in 2011.

 

The state’s repeated failure to control its own prescription drug problem would eventually lead to more addicts turning to heroin not only on Florida, but in other states around the country. 

A few days after three women overdosed in the Duval County jail, the facility’s former director Tara Wildes is calling the incident not an “extremely common” one.

Pointing to a “Good Samaritan” law passed in 2012, a state appeals court Friday said a man should have been immune from prosecution on drug charges because he called 911 to seek help when a friend overdosed on heroin.

Report Shows 'Staggering' Drug Deaths In Florida

Nov 16, 2017
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A highly anticipated report from Florida's medical examiners shows dramatic increases in all types of drug-related deaths, including a 97 percent increase in deaths caused by the synthetic opioid fentanyl.

The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office announced Thursday it has knocked out a major source of street level heroin on the First Coast.


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An autopsy has confirmed that a 10-year-old Florida boy is among the state's youngest victims of the opioid crisis.

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A couple is facing felony charges after deputies say their 1-year-old girl nearly died from a heroin overdose.

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A Florida drug dealer has been sentenced to 20 years in federal prison for his customer's fatal overdose.

Court records show that 25-year-old Hugo Margenat-Castro was sentenced Thursday. He pleaded guilty in March to conspiring to distribute heroin and distributing fentanyl causing death.

Authorities say Margenat-Castro advertised selling heroin on social media, prompting potential customers to contact him through a website and arrange a meeting to purchase the opioid. At some point, the heroin began to be laced with fentanyl.

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The Collier County Sheriff’s Office is using software to map real-time heroin overdoses.

An internet black market used by some Floridians to buy and sell heroin and fentanyl has been shut down in an international law enforcement operation.

For nearly four years now, an unusual coalition of Republicans and Democrats has worked to reduce mandatory prison terms for many federal drug crimes.

But that bipartisan movement may be shallower than it appears. Indeed, Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa and Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California, who both supported a cut-back on some drug punishments, are preparing a bill that would create tough new penalties for people caught with synthetic opioid drugs. Grassley chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee, and Feinstein is the panel's ranking member.

In the day room at St. Ann's Corner of Harm Reduction, which runs a needle exchange program in the Bronx, a group of guys are playing dominoes and listening to salsa music while they wait for lunch. And Van Asher, one of the staffers in charge of "transactions" — that means he gives out needles — is talking up his latest idea for how to keep the users here safe.

He wants to tell them what's really in their stash.

"If you're doing dope," he says to one client, "we'll give you a test strip so you can test and see if there's fentanyl."

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State health officials stopped in Jacksonville Wednesday to hear about how opioid abuse is affecting Northeast Florida. It was their fourth stop on a state tour, set up by Governor Rick Scott.  

An overdose revival drug called Naloxone, commonly referred to as its brand name Narcan, can be bought over-the-counter in 14 states, but Florida is not one of them.

With the state’s overdose count increasing, the University of Miami’s IDEA Exchange Center, Florida’s first public clean syringe program, has recently been distributing the revival drug for free at its base location, in 1636 NW 7th avenue in Miami.

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The drug overdose epidemic has killed thousands in Florida and Gov. Rick Scott is looking for answers.

The state will hold workshops in four counties next week to talk about the problem.

Councilman Bill Gulliford wants to convene a community task force to combat the opioid epidemic in Jacksonville.

He made the announcement at a town hall Thursday night, where he said heroin and other opioid overdoes kill more than three times as many people as guns do in the city.

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The Orange County Sheriff’s Office is warning about a surge in heroin overdoses.

The epidemic of opioid overdoses continues to grip Delray Beach. The city saw 75 heroin overdoses last month, with 4 of them fatal.

That’s a slight decrease from October, which brought an all-time high of 88 heroin overdoses resulting in 11 fatalities.

Delray Beach emergency personnel attribute the spike in overdoses to synthetic opioids like fentanyl being added to heroin sold on the street.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, fentanyl is more than 50 times more potent than heroin.

Inpatient treatment programs for heroin and opioid dependence can be so difficult to get into in some parts of the country that drug users who want to quit are voluntarily asking judges to lock them up — just to guarantee they'll get help.

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U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio and Rep. Vern Buchanan, both of whom are running for re-election, will gather at a roundtable discussion at Manatee Memorial Hospital to talk about the heroin and opioid epidemic.

The Bradenton Herald reports the meeting will be held at noon on Monday. Health care officials, local law enforcement and community leaders will also be at the discussion.

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A summit is being convened in South Florida to explore the scope of abuse of heroin and other opioid drugs and examine ways to tackle the problem.

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A record number of heroin overdoses in Manatee County has put a strain on families and facilities.

Those same overdoses are pushing the limits of the medical examiner's office, which has seen record numbers of autopsies in July and August of this year, according to the Bradenton Herald.

The number of newborns who are physically dependent on drugs in Florida has nearly doubled since 2010, according to The News-Press.

WMFE

Two Florida counties are testing a program to treat incarcerated heroin users.

Rubio To Hold Hearing On Heroin 'Epidemic'

May 25, 2016
WMFE

U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., will hold a hearing Thursday in Washington on heroin-related issues, with the panelists including Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs and officials from the U.S. Department of State and the federal Office of Drug Control Policy, according to Rubio's office.

A Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department transport unit is often the first stop for who somebody who's overdosed.  

“They are going to be extremely cyanotic due to the lack of breathing,”said Jacksonville Rescue Division Chief David Castleman in response to what he's encountered treating overdoses. "They’re going to be blue. Unresponsive completely."

As more addicts on the First Coast are turning to heroin for their highs, overdoses have skyrocketed.

 


Courtney Griffin was addicted to heroin and ready to get help. She packed up her things, and her mom drove her to a residential treatment facility about an hour from their home in New Hampshire. There was a bed waiting for her.

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