In a December 1 update from the Florida Department of Health, the agency released the Statewide Drug Policy Advisory Council’s Annual Report for 2016.
Put forth by Governor Rick Scott and Surgeon General Dr. Celeste Philip, the report includes statistics and measures being taken by the state to combat the substance abuse epidemic. The council held several meetings throughout the year, with each of the sessions focusing on testimonies from experts working in the field.
Agencies across the state were assigned different objectives at the start of 2016, including maximization of resources and increased research for prevention and treatment. While these efforts produced positive results, other concerns came into play as the year went on, chiefly those associated with the rapidly evolving heroin and opioid epidemic.
The report cites that 779 deaths in the state of Florida were heroin-related in 2015. This statistic extends to include the pathway of substance abuse; four out of five new heroin users initially became addicted from misuse of prescription medications.
With this report, the Advisory Council has given their support to several new initiatives. Among these initiatives, the state has announced their intention to increase availability of naloxone, to drive education and awareness programs pertaining to substance abuse, and to reduce the wait time to obtain drug-related death information from the medical examiner.
Available in its entirety on the Florida Drug and Alcohol Abuse Association (FADAA) website, the report further confirms the steadily growing statistics associated with addiction in the state of Florida. The multiple-point plan for 2017’s addiction-related initiatives aims to improve the health of our residents—and to improve availability of treatment for all those affected by addiction.
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