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Coordinated Opioid Recovery Network hopes to reduce overdose deaths in Pinellas

Daylina Miller/WUSF Public Media

Pinellas County opioid deaths are being addressed through the Coordinated Opioid Recovery Network, an initiative being slowly rolled out across the state.

Pinellas County health officials are hoping the Coordinated Opioid Recovery (CORE) Network will start bringing down the number of overdose deaths in the county.

"One person every 14 hours is dying from an opioid overdose," said Tom Iovino of the the Florida Department of Health in Pinellas. "Of course, thousands more are showing up at emergency rooms. So, what we're trying to do is get these people off opioids earlier."

Pinellas is one of 15 Florida counties adopting the CORE model of care for those with opioid addiction. It's the second phase of a rollout that started in August across six counties.

Iovino said the key is getting people in an opioid crisis in contact with county agencies that can help them as soon as possible.

"Basically, what's happening is we're having people being referred to agencies right in the back of the ambulance if they're able to be conscious enough and they're able to be responsive," he explained.

Iovino said people in crisis with opioids may find trying to get help themselves an impossible task. But, through the CORE program, a roadmap to recovery is provided when they need it.

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Craig Kopp is relatively new to Florida and the Tampa Bay area. The veteran broadcaster and writer spent the majority of his 30 year career in Ohio.