Florida Expands Opioid Recovery Program: ‘Addiction is Heartbreaking’

August 3, 2022 Updated 4:58 PM ET

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August 3, 2022 Updated 1:37 P.M. ET

ROCKLEDGE (FLV) – A pilot program to help people suffering from substance abuse will expand to 12 counties in Florida.

Gov. Ron DeSantis announced the network of addiction care called Coordinated Opioid Recovery (CORE) as the first of its kind in the nation.

“Substance abuse can affect any family at any time, so from education to law enforcement to treatment we are going to make sure that Floridians can take advantage of this new addiction recovery model,” DeSantis said.

Floridians can use CORE to receive medical assisted treatment and for stabilization. The program was piloted in Palm Beach County for nearly two years. CORE will be expanded in two phases. Phase one counties include Brevard, Clay, Duval, Escambia, Gulf, Manatee, Marion, Pasco, and Volusia counties.

“Addiction is heartbreaking for all involved, and we ultimately want to help people address the stress traumas that led them to addiction,” said State Surgeon General Dr. Joseph Ladapo. “One day the standard of care will address the trauma and the stress, but until then we have the evidence-based practices that exist in place.”

DeSantis announced the appointment of Dr. Courtney Phillips as the first Statewide Director of Opioid Recovery.

“The state of Florida should be proud today to take the lead on systematically tackling the opioid and substance use epidemic with compassion and competent care,” Phillips said.

The governor blamed the Biden Administration’s southern border policies for the influx of fentanyl and other deadly drugs in the United States. In 2022, there have already been nearly 2,000 fatal overdoses in Florida.

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Last year, the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office, with the Central Florida High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Team, saw a 72% increase in drug overdose fatalities related to fentanyl.

“Biden’s border crisis has caused a massive infusion of drugs coming into our state,” DeSantis said. “This year we increased the penalties for individuals trafficking drugs in our state, and now we are giving Floridians the tools they need to break the substance abuse cycle.”

The Florida Supreme Court granted the DeSantis Administration’s petition for a statewide grand jury to examine international human smuggling networks

The grand jury will investigate networks bringing people illegally from the southern border to Florida. The jury will examine these networks’ impact on Florida and how they violated state law. It will also investigate local governments that aid in the smuggling scheme. 

DeSantis Admin Applauds Supreme Court for New Grand Jury to ‘Fight’ Biden’s ‘Disastrous’ Border Policies

“By fulfilling our request to impanel a grand jury, the Florida Supreme Court has enabled the State of Florida to take the next step in fighting back against Biden’s disastrous border policies,” said Larry Keefe, who is the Governor’s public safety senior advisor. 

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