‘We have got to stop it:’ $205.7M going toward Florida resources battling opioid crisis

DeSantis announces efforts to treat, prevent substance abuse

Gov. Ron DeSantis announces $205.7 million toward Florida resources battling opioid crisis (Copyright 2023 by WKMG ClickOrlando - All rights reserved.)

DESTIN, Fla. – Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis announced Friday that $205.7 million would go toward boosting resources in the state battling the opioid crisis.

The governor was joined by First Lady of Florida Casey DeSantis, Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis, Department of Children and Families Secretary Shevaun Harris and Department of Health Deputy Secretary of Health Kenneth Scheppke.

“We’re always trying to figure out how can we do better, how can we get ahead of some of these problems, what could we be doing that others may not be doing but maybe something that we need to,” DeSantis said during a news conference in Destin.

[TRENDING: Become a News 6 Insider]

The money will be disbursed to the following areas:

  • $26.8 million to expand the CORE, Coordinated Opioid Recovery, network
  • $10.2 million to establish an office of opioid recovery
  • $39.4 million for prevention
  • $92.5 million for treatment
  • $25.3 million for recovery and peer support
  • $11.3 million to evaluate the data of the programs

The CORE network launched in August, providing streamlined resources for those battling addiction. The network started in 12 counties, including Brevard, Marion and Volusia counties, and will soon expand to include 17, the governor said.

“Since that time with the core network, we’ve serviced and evaluated 2,682 individuals for opioid use disorder. And the network has a retention rate of 70% and averages a relapse rate of 2%. So that’s pretty good,” he said.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on Wednesday discussed the rollout and planned expansion of a multi-county opioid recovery network.

A woman who dealt with an opioid addiction spoke at the news conference to share her story.

“I had a disease that wanted me dead but it will settle for miserable and it definitely made me miserable,” she said. “... I got in the program, and I did the work that was laid in front of me. And one day at a time, my life started to change.”

Another woman spoke of the grief she feels after her daughter died of an overdose. She said her daughter died in March 2021 after taking something that had fentanyl she received from a friend.

“She was quite the kid, quite the kid. She was helpful. She was honest. She was a good person. This drug crisis does not discriminate. It does not discriminate. We have got to stop it. We have got to stop it from killing our children,” she said tearfully.

Casey DeSantis reiterated the need for education and said her substance abuse campaign, The Facts, Your Future, aims to empower children with knowledge.

“We really need to communicate to these children and these kids in school, the real-world ramifications of their actions. And so that’s why we launched back in 2019 The Facts, Your Future. It’s like Just Say No, but it’s really just say no, and here’s why,” she said.

DeSantis said the $205.7 million comes from a settlement agreement Florida is receiving from pharmaceutical companies.

“This is billions and billions of dollars in settlement money because these were companies that knew that these were very highly-addictive medications. And they put that out there without really doing what they needed to do to protect consumers and so a lot of people got hooked on those as a result and it did a lot of damage to our society. And it cost many, many lives,” he said.

Get today’s headlines in minutes with Your Florida Daily:

About the Author:

Brenda Argueta is a digital journalist who joined ClickOrlando.com in March 2021. She graduated from UCF and returned to Central Florida after working in Colorado.