Governor Rick Scott signed executive order 17-146 directing the Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF) to immediately begin drawing down federal grant funds totaling more than $27 million to fund opioid prevention, treatment, and recovery support services across the state.
In 2015, opioids were responsible for more than 33,000 deaths nationwide; and nearly 3,900 deaths in Florida. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration grant will provide Florida with $27,150,403 in federal funding annually for two years for a total of more than $54 million.
“I have had the opportunity to travel the state and hear directly from recovering addicts, parents who have lost their children and professionals on the front lines of this epidemic who have been working tirelessly to help those struggling in their own communities,” Florida Department of Children and Families Secretary Mike Carroll said. “I am grateful for Governor Scott’s leadership, allowing the department to immediately begin drawing down on these funds which will provide much needed resources to communities across the state.”
Florida was awarded this grant through the 21st Century Cures Act’s State Targeted Response to the Opioid Crisis Grants, by selecting evidence-based strategies proven to reduce fatal overdoses and aid in individual recovery. The grant will fund four major components to help communities fight the opioid epidemic, including medication-assisted treatment, overdose prevention through Naloxone distribution, hospital-based and child welfare projects, and school-based prevention services in rural counties.
Of the $27 million awarded for this year of the grant, more than $17 million will be allocated directly to communities through the Managing Entities to fund medication-assisted treatment, specifically methadone and buprenorphine, coupled with counseling for indigent, uninsured, and underinsured individuals with opioid use disorders. These funds will be regionally distributed based on the number of opioid-caused deaths and the estimated number of nonmedical prescription opioid and heroin users.
Nearly $3.8 million will be provided to the Florida Alcohol and Drug Abuse Association to enhance their statewide medication-assisted treatment program using Vivitrol®. The grant will also fund Naloxone kits and overdose recognition and response training, behavioral health consultants to support child protection staff, hospital-based care coordination pilots, peer mentoring programs, and training opportunities for child welfare, court, and peer support staff.
DCF is working with the Managing Entities and behavioral health community partners to implement the services outlined in the grant as soon as possible. Community providers must be available and ready to begin providing services within 120 days of the grant award.