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Locals, Policymakers Wrestle With Opioid Crisis At Public Forum

Nick Evans
The Florida Channel
Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.
Credit Nick Evans
The Florida Channel

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.

Big Bend community based care asked attendees to consider three policy responses to opioid abuse—treatment, enforcement and harm reduction.  Rep. Ramon Alexander’s (D-Tallahassee) biggest take away is improving coordination and prevention.

“I think the whole concept in regards to trauma and taking a more micro-targeted approach and creating stop gaps early and looking at some of these generational cycles was rather fascinating,” Alexander says.  “And how you develop a strategy and put programming around it that is more prevention style would be interesting to see how it would have an impact on people’s lives.”

State lawmakers are working on an opioid measure, with the governors backing, that would limit many prescriptions to three days and require doctors use a drug tracking database.  Another proposal backed by two South Florida Democrats would remove barriers for needle exchange programs. 

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Nick Evans came to Tallahassee to pursue a masters in communications at Florida State University. He graduated in 2014, but not before picking up an internship at WFSU. While he worked on his degree Nick moved from intern, to part-timer, to full-time reporter. Before moving to Tallahassee, Nick lived in and around the San Francisco Bay Area for 15 years. He listens to far too many podcasts and is a die-hard 49ers football fan. When Nick’s not at work he likes to cook, play music and read.