opioid crisis

News Service of Florida

Two days after instructing federal prosecutors to seek the death penalty in drug-related cases, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions came to Tallahassee on Thursday to promote President Donald Trump’s plan to combat the deadly opioid epidemic.

Congress Tackles The Opioid Epidemic. But How Much Will It Help?

Mar 20, 2018

The nation’s opioid epidemic has been called today’s version of the 1980s AIDS crisis.

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President Trump outlined a wide-ranging plan to combat the opioid epidemic on Monday, including an ad campaign to discourage drug use, expand addiction treatment and pursue a get-tough approach to law enforcement.

"Whether you are a dealer or doctor or trafficker or a manufacturer, if you break the law and illegally peddle these deadly poisons, we will find you, we will arrest you, and we will hold you accountable," Trump told an audience in Manchester, N.H.

"Failure is not an option," he added. "Addiction is not our future."

Governor's Press Office

Saying it is critical to “stop the addiction in the beginning,” Gov. Rick Scott on Monday signed a high-profile bill designed to prevent patients from getting hooked on powerful opioids.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott is signing legislation to combat the state's opioid epidemic.

Broward County filed a new lawsuit in federal court Monday against manufacturers of opioid drugs.

Walmart, Walgreens, the McKesson Corp. and CVS Health are just some of the drug makers and distributors Broward County is suing.  


Others include Johnson & Johnson, Cardinal Health Inc., Health Mart Systems, Mallinckrodt, Amerisourcebergen Corp., as well as Endo Janssen, Purdue, Cephalon and Teva Pharmaceuticals. 

How Many Opioid Overdoses Are Suicides?

Mar 15, 2018

Mady Ohlman was 22 on the evening some years ago when she stood in a friend's bathroom looking down at the sink.

"I had set up a bunch of needles filled with heroin because I wanted to just do them back-to-back-to-back," Ohlman recalls. She doesn't remember how many she injected before collapsing, or how long she lay drugged-out on the floor.

"But I remember being pissed because I could still get up, you know?"

She wanted to be dead, she says, glancing down. A wisp of straight brown hair slips from behind an ear across her thin face.

Daylina Miller/Health News Florida

A program to give naloxone overdose-antidote kits and training to front-line officers. Funding for pill disposal boxes in pharmacies, clinics and police stations across North Carolina. A radio campaign in Connecticut warning of the dangers of opioid abuse. A new medicine to treat opioid-induced constipation.

The Jacksonville Medical Examiner’s Office Monday received a mobile-unit to house more office space. It’s part of a $206,000 city plan to temporarily address the morgue’s overcrowding.

Daylina Miller/Health News Florida

In the waning hours of the annual session, the Florida Legislature approved tough new restrictions Friday on prescription drugs and agreed to spend more than $53 million on treatment and prevention to battle the state’s opioid crisis.

A measure to address Florida’s growing opioid crisis is nearing completion with just days left in the legislative session.

After being delayed twice a proposal restricting physician prescribing powers for opioids is once again moving in the senate. It’s part of a wide-ranging proposal to address overdose deaths, which have jumped in Florida and across the nation in recent years.

Foster Homes Overwhelmed By Opioid Epidemic

Feb 16, 2018

Florida foster care providers are struggling to keep up with the number of children entering the system as a result of opioid-related deaths. 

The opioid epidemic has cost the U.S. more than a trillion dollars since 2001, according to a new study, and may exceed another $500 billion over the next three years.

The U.S. military’s Southern Command, or Southcom, hosted a summit of experts in Miami Thursday on America’s growing opioid crisis. Among them was Jim Walsh, the deputy assistant secretary of state for international narcotics.

Walsh told WLRN one of his big concerns is the growing potential for increased production of fentanyl – widely considered the most addictive and dangerous opioid. Walsh said in the past China has been the sole source of fentanyl. But there are signs it’s now being produced in this hemisphere:

After three decades, the United Way of Broward County Commission on Substance Abuse is changing its name to reflect a more holistic view of its mission.

At a 30th anniversary celebration in Fort Lauderdale on Thursday, the group announced it is rebranding itself as the United Way Commission on Behavioral Health & Drug Prevention.

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions was in Tampa Wednesday talking about efforts to combat the nation's opioid crisis.

Florida House members are considering cutting funding for programs that supply patients with a powerful addiction-fighting drug.

A Jacksonville addiction specialist says that move could make it harder to stem the opioid epidemic.

Updated 6 p.m. ET

Williamson, W.Va., sits right across the Tug Fork river from Kentucky. The town has sites dedicated to its coal mining heritage and the Hatfield and McCoy feud and counts just about 3,000 residents.

The nation-wide opioid epidemic is getting worse. According to Florida's Department of Law Enforcement, there were nearly 6,000 opioid-related deaths in our state in 2016--a 35 percent increase from 2015. While there is no single solution, Naples' David Lawrence Center is using a grant to use a different approach to combat the problem.

Of the drug-overdose victims who have participated in a Jacksonville pilot program, almost none have relapsed, according to a report presented to City Council Tuesday.

The six month hospital-based program began in November.

The Fort Lauderdale City Commission is set to hold a special meeting Tuesday at noon at City Hall to discuss legal options on how to deal with the ongoing opioids crisis.

During the meeting, which is open to the public, five law firms will present their advice on how they think the city should legally handle the opioid crisis.

Discussion is expected to include hot topics ranging from overdoses to access to drugs, and what legal issues are at stake if the city enforces new ordinances going forward.

Several proposals to combat the opioid epidemic are circulating through the Florida House and Senate.

Life expectancy in the U.S. fell for the second year in a row in 2016, nudged down again by a surge in fatal opioid overdoses, federal officials report Thursday.

"I'm not prone to dramatic statements," says Robert Anderson, chief of the mortality statistics branch at the National Center for Health Statistics. "But I think we should be really alarmed. The drug overdose problem is a public health problem, and it needs to be addressed. We need to get a handle on it."

As the opioid epidemic swells the tide of abused and neglected children coming into the state foster-care system, a Florida judge is trying to find them a "forever" home, in time for the holidays.

More than fifty people gathered at the Leon County Public Library Monday evening to talk about combating the opioid crisis.  The epidemic hasn’t hit Leon as hard as some other counties, but local leaders want to be ready.

About a month ago, President Trump declared the opioid epidemic a public health emergency. He's spent a lot of time talking about the severity of the drug crisis. But he's spent less time outlining the specific steps he'll take to fight it. Today, a White House analysis declared that the true cost of the opioid epidemic in 2015 was more than half a trillion dollars.

The latest figures from Florida’s medical examiners show sharp increases in drug related deaths.  Across all substances, 22 percent more Floridians lost their lives in 2016. 

The Federal Drug Administration (FDA) issued a public health advisory this week regarding the use of Kratom - an herb that some people use to treat pain, stress, anxiety, and even opioid withdrawal.