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Number of opioid overdoses in Florida is down for the first time in years

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A report cites CDC data showing that in 2022 Florida saw a 2.6% decrease in drug overdoses. One of the largest drops came out of Brevard.

Opioid overdose deaths are declining overall in the Sunshine State, according to new data from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The Central Florida region saw some of the biggest reductions, according to a report by Project Opioid.

Opioid overdose deaths skyrocketed after the start of the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic. But in 2022, Florida saw a 2.6% decrease in drug overdoses, CDC data showed.

One of the largest drops came out of Brevard County, which saw a 49% decrease. Seminole and Orange counties saw decreases of over 11%.

The reductions are due to a combination of available medication, such as naloxone, and widespread education, said Andrae Bailey, the founder of Project Opioid.

“I think what was surprising to me, if anything, was how quickly lives can be saved, an 11% reduction in one year,” he said,

Bailey isn't celebrating yet. "This is not even the beginning of the end; perhaps this could be the end of a new beginning for this community on how we can turn the tide on this opioid crisis and save the lives of so many of our young people who are dying."

Last year, more than 800 residents died as a result of overdose. CDC data shows overdose deaths in the country jumped by 94% among ages 14 to 18 in 2020, and an additional 20% in 2021.

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Joe Mario Pedersen