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Scott Declares Public Health Emergency For Opioid Crisis

Gov. Rick Scott has declared a public health emergency across Florida for the opioid epidemic.

Thousands of drug addicts have died from overdosing on heroin, fentanyl and other opioids.

The order gives the state access to more than $27 million in federal grant money from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

The state was awarded a $54 million on April 21 through the department’s Opioid State Targeted Response grant.

The money will be used to provide prevention, recovery and support services, including the drug Naloxone, which reverses overdoses.

Surgeon General Celeste Philip will issue a standing order for Naloxone so that first responders who respond to overdoses are ensured access to the drug.

Scott had faced increased pressure to issue a public health emergency for the overdose crisis. Similar orders were issued for Ebola in 2014 and Zika last year.

The state held four workshops in communities that were most effected by the opioid crisis to find out what local officials need to combat it.

After a workshop in Manatee County, Philip said an emergency order could come after the meetings.

Department of Children and Families Secretary Mike Carroll said the grant money will go to areas with the greatest need.

"No mom, no dad should ever lose a child to addiction; particularly opioid addiction," Carroll said. "This is entirely preventable, and so we have got to take immediate steps and step up our efforts, quite frankly."

Scott said the state is willing to do everything possible to stop the epidemic. 

“I know firsthand how heartbreaking substance abuse can be to a family because it impacted my own family growing up,” Scott said in a release. “The individuals struggling with drug use are sons, daughters, mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers and friends and each tragic case leaves loved ones searching for answers and praying for help.” 

Copyright 2017 Health News Florida

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