The opioid epidemic is a serious and growing problem across the United States. With some regions of the country getting hit harder than others, Florida’s opioid epidemic has gained a lot of attention over the course of the past decade, exhibiting one of the highest opioid overdose rates in the nation.
State officials declared opioid misuse a serious public health emergency in 2017 as a response to the 27 percent increase in opioid-caused deaths from the previous year. Since then, comprehensive legislation has been passed to address Florida’s opioid epidemic. Most notably are the provision put in place for better funding and access to medically-assisted treatment programs. This effort backs the notion that medical detoxification is a highly effective treatment method for those suffering from opioid use disorder. Some other steps that have been taken to help fight Florida’s opioid epidemic are:
In the first six months of 2017 alone, an estimated 2,096 people in Florida (more than 11 people per day) had suffered from an opioid-related death. This was characterized by the drug merely being present in the diseased person’s body or being the actual cause of death itself. If this wasn’t shocking enough, Florida hospitals claim to have treated roughly 18 thousand opioid overdoses in 2017, with 6,932 Floridians containing one or more prescription drug in their system at the time of death. Opioid-related treatment expenses in the Sunshine State have now surpassed $1 billion annually.
On Dec. 1, 2018, Florida’s 2017-2018 Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP) released an annual report calling attention to this year’s accomplishments in achieving the following outcomes:
Major strides have been taken to fight Florida’s opioid epidemic, but there is still much to be done. Though opioid-related deaths remain very high, the changes being implemented on a state and governmental level are vital to creating lasting advancements in addiction research/recovery. Moreover, education is key for both consumers and prescribers to truly understand how the carelessness surrounding addictive substances can gravely affect our nation as a whole.