‘It’s like Russian roulette:’ Seminole sheriff explains how fentanyl is fueling deadly opioid crisis
Seminole County Sheriff Dennis Lemma sat down with anchor Justin Warmoth on “The Weekly” to break down how the opioid epidemic has evolved over the years and what it’s going to take to get the crisis under control.
Community leaders looking to stop opioid overdose deaths, blame pandemic
ORLANDO, Fla. – Church leaders and law enforcement are working together to address the rise in overdose deaths within the last year. “What we are seeing is a perfect storm of the previous overdose crisis now colliding with COVID-19 and driving the numbers of deaths from overdose to historic levels,” Andrae Bailey, CEO of Project Opioid said. Seminole County Sheriff Dennis Lemma, a coach for Project Opioid, said they are working to bring more community programs to reach those struggling with opioid addiction. “We’ve incorporated a lot in various programs in Seminole County and this project with project opioid brings the faith community together, the business community together and the public sector to come up with real reasonable solutions,” Lemma said. To keep up with the latest news on the pandemic, subscribe to News 6′s coronavirus newsletter and go to ClickOrlando.com/coronavirus.
New Sanford clinic offers ‘Hope & Healing’ for people recovering from addiction
SANFORD, Fla. – The Hope & Healing Center opened Monday in Sanford offering treatment for those battling addiction. The new facility, a partnership between Seminole County and AdventHealth, is designed to address the ongoing opioid crisis. Opioid overdoses increased last year by more than 50%, according to the Seminole County Sheriff’s Office, with nearly 62 overdoses per month in 2020. Currently, 10 inpatient residents can be housed at Hope & Healing. The Hope & Healing Center is the first of its kind, offering a wide range of counseling and support services that go beyond discharge from the facility including educational, vocational and housing needs.
Pandemic causes opioid overdoses to skyrocket in Volusia County
VOLUSIA COUNTY, Fla. – Larry Brooks, a peer recovery “specialist” at SMA Healthcare in Volusia County, is often the first person and the best person to speak with addicts who are lucky enough to make it to the hospital after they overdose on opioids. SMA said typically only 10% of overdose patients will seek treatment. SMA created the partnership with Halifax Health a year ago as opioid overdoses and deaths soared in Volusia County. SMA said in 2019, 1,169 people overdosed and 145 people died, according to the Volusia County sheriff. The move will put peer recovery specialists in those hospitals to meet with overdose patients as they come in.
Second man faces murder charges after woman’s overdose death
SEMINOLE COUNTY, Fla. – A man now faces a murder charge for supplying the drugs that caused a 19-year-old woman’s death, according to the state attorney’s office. David Hare was indicted Jan. 15, on a charge of first-degree murder by distribution of a controlled substance. Ackerman died Jan. 22, 2020, after doing drugs with Daniel Bachert, according to the Seminole County Sheriff’s Office. Deputies say that Bachert noticed Ackerman was in distress but waited more than four hours to take her to the hospital. Jessica Ackerman and Daniel Bachert (Seminole County Sheriff's Office)Bachert provided the fentanyl to Ackerman but he received it from Hare, according to a news release from the state attorney’s office.
Florida leaders concerned about opioid crisis worsening amid COVID-19 pandemic
ORLANDO, Fla. – There has been a rise in opioid use and overdoses during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the founder of the Opioid Project, Andrae Bailey, and the issue has caught the attention of Florida Rep. Geraldine Thompson. Thompson hosted a virtual forum Tuesday morning to discuss the opioid epidemic with doctors and organizations a part of the conversation. “The COVID-19 pandemic has absolutely, definitively, no question about it, exacerbated the opioid crisis,” said Dr. Aaron Wohl, an emergency medicine physician with the Veterans Administration Hospital in Orlando. He said during the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic, the largest increase in overdose deaths of any demographic was in the African American community. The conversation also offered up resources like Aspire Health Partners, who offers services to those with opioid addiction.
Opioid crisis worsens during COVID-19 pandemic
ORLANDO, Fla. – The COVID-19 pandemic is leading to an increased concern by leaders working to combat another crisis: the opioid epidemic. Jaime Bridges, LCSW, is the Opioid Outreach Coordinator at Orlando Health, ORMC. [TRENDING: Here’s how to register for COVID-19 vaccine | Select Publix locations will offer vaccine | Fla. woman accused of screaming political profanities]Bridges said the current health crisis, with rising COVID-19 cases, has lead to more relapses in the patients she sees. Bridges said programs like the one she started with Orlando Health have had to adapt to meet the needs of patients in need of rehabilitation. Bridges’ program distributed over 200 Narcan kits to patients leaving ORMC after an overdose, along with resources to take home.
Drug dealer sold overdose victim fentanyl instead of heroin, deputies say
POLK COUNTY, Fla. – A drug dealer who sold fentanyl instead of heroin to a man who ultimately overdosed and died earlier this year is now facing a murder charge, according to the Polk County Sheriff’s Office. Further testing of the baggies found at the scene determined that they contained fentanyl, according to a news release. Scott has been in jail since March on charges that include trafficking in heroin, tampering with evidence and possession of a structure to traffic drugs. For every parent who loses a child to illegal narcotics, there’s someone out there responsible for selling the drug that caused it. These drugs ruin lives, destroy families, and kill people,” Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said.
Florida to use $5 million federal grant to fund career program for recovering addicts
SEMINOLE COUNTY, Fla. – Florida will use a $5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Labor to fund a pilot program designed to help people recovering from opioid addiction re-enter the workforce through training as well as continue to receive recovery and support services. [TRENDING: ‘Smell of rotting flesh’ leads to body in trunk | How to celebrate Halloween during pandemic | 98 ‘murder hornets’ removed]The pilot program is called Support to Communities: Fostering Opioid Recovery through Workforce Development. “There is no question that the isolation and collateral unintended consequences of COVID-19 stop people who were in treatment,” Lemma said. The DeSantis' said the program is designed to partner with communities including local colleges, CareerSource in Central Florida and law enforcement. “This new pilot program is focused on connecting individuals who have been impacted by opioid abuse addiction and other substance use disorders, with the resources they need to recover and find meaningful employment in their communities,” Gov.