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Fentanyl Fuels Spike in Opioid Overdose Deaths, Addiction

Photo: Customs Border Protection via Wikimedia Creative Commons

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.

Thursday at 1 p.m. on Gulf Coast Live, Dr. Sebastian Klisiewica, a physical medicine and rehabilitation specialist at the Spine and Pain center at Lee Health in Fort Myers, explains how commonly prescribed opioids like can lead to addiction.

Dr. Russell Vega, the Chief Medical Examiner for Florida’s 12th Judicial Circuit, also joins the program to provide an update on the huge number of overdose deaths linked to fentanyl (and the even more potent carfentail) that plagued DeSoto, Manatee and Sarasota Counties in 2016.

Nancy Dauphinais, a certified addiction professional and a licensed mental health counselor with the David Lawrence Center in Collier County, also shares her experience with addiction and interventions in Southwest Florida.

Copyright 2020 WGCU. To see more, visit WGCU.

Matthew Smith is a reporter and producer of WGCU’s Gulf Coast Live.