Attorney General Ashley Moody today urged Congress to remove federal barriers that are preventing health care providers from offering more treatment options for patients suffering from opioid use disorder. [Read more…] about Attorney General Moody Urges More Treatment Options to Fight Opioid Crisis
Governor Ron DeSantis today announced that the U.S. Department of Labor has awarded the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) an opioid-crisis Dislocated Worker Grant (DWG) to combat the opioid epidemic in Florida. [Read more…] about Governor Ron DeSantis Announces Award of National Health Emergency Dislocated Worker Grant to Combat Opioid Crisis
Attorney General Pam Bondi today issued the following statement regarding HB 21 going into effect. The new law places limits on the volume of prescription opioids doctors can write patients for acute pain, in an effort to prevent opioid addiction: [Read more…] about Attorney General Bondi’s Statement Regarding New Rx Opioid Law
Attorney General Pam Bondi is encouraging Floridians to help combat the national opioid crisis by participating in National Prescription Drug Take Back Day. Take back locations will be open across the state on Saturday, April 28, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. This event allows the public to take expired or no longer needed prescription drugs to local drop-off points for proper disposal.
“People struggling with addiction will do anything to get their hands on deadly drugs in search of a quick high––even going as far as rummaging through a relative’s medicine cabinet. That is why I urge everyone to get rid of your nonessential or outdated prescription drugs. Look in your medicine cabinet and if you come across any unused prescriptions, please take them to the nearest Drug Take Back location. This simple task will help us fight the opioid crisis and save lives,” said Attorney General Bondi.
The Drug Enforcement Administration conducts Drug Take-Backs in conjunction with state and local law enforcement. Floridians can find nearby participating locations by clicking, here.
Medicine take-back options are the preferred way to safely discard of most types of unneeded prescriptions. This option compared to disposal in the household trash or down the toilet is much safer for everyone. Flushing medicine down the toilet can bring harm to the environment, as well as, unintended human health risks. Consumers can visit the DEA’s website for more information about drug disposal.
Following is a comment from U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL) on news today that the U. S. Department of Health and Human Services has awarded the state of Florida an additional $27 million in federal funding to help combat the opioid crisis:
“The nation’s opioid epidemic is a real public health emergency and we need to be doing everything we can to combat this crisis. The only way we’re going to be successful in fighting this epidemic is by providing local communities with the funding they need to bolster their prevention, treatment and recovery efforts.”
The funding comes from a 2016 measure Nelson supported to provide states with $1 billion over two years to combat the opioid epidemic. The $27 million Florida will receive this year is on top of the $27 million it received last year under the law – bringing the state’s total received under the bill to $54 million.
Nelson sponsored legislation earlier this year to provide states an additional $12 billion to fight the opioid epidemic.
Here’s a copy of HHS’s announcement about the new funding:
Today, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is releasing the second year of funding to 57 states and territories totaling $485 million to continue the Nation’s efforts to combat the opioid crisis. The Opioid State Targeted Response (STR) grants, which were created by the 21st Century Cures Act, are administered by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) within HHS.
STR grants address the opioid crisis by increasing access to treatment, reducing unmet treatment need, and reducing opioid overdose related deaths through the provision of prevention, treatment and recovery activities for opioid use disorder (including prescription opioids as well as illicit drugs such as heroin). Grantees must use funding to supplement existing opioid prevention, treatment, and recovery activities in their state. An additional $1B recently appropriated will be coming out in September 2018.
Attorney General Pam Bondi today praised the Florida House for unanimously passing HB 21 to help fight the national opioid crisis claiming lives in Florida:
“This legislation is vital to our continued efforts to combat the national opioid crisis claiming lives in Florida. I want to personally thank Representative Jim Boyd for sponsoring HB 21 and leading the House fight against opioid addiction. I also want to thank each member who voted unanimously to approve this life-saving legislation. This vote comes while I am at the White House for a National Opioid Summit, and I hope the entire country will follow Florida’s lead.”
U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL) and others sent a letter to the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) today requesting an independent review of the actions taken by the administration to address the opioid epidemic since he declared it a public health emergency.
President Trump directed the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to declare the opioid crisis a public health emergency on Oct. 26, 2017. Despite that declaration, the administration has yet to officially allocate new funds to address the crisis and, instead, has proposed funding cuts to several agencies responding to the crisis.
“Given the severity of the crisis, we have grown increasingly concerned by reports that the President has done little to make use of his public health emergency declaration, leaving state and local communities without the resources they need to fight the opioid epidemic,” the senators wrote. “Despite saying it would work with Congress, the White House has put forward no proposals for authorizing new funding.”
To ensure the federal government is utilizing all resources available, the senators have asked the GAO to review, specifically, what resources are available to the executive branch and what steps they have taken to combat the opioid crisis since declaring the crisis a public health emergency.
An estimated 2.6 million Americans suffer from opioid use disorder and, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 42,000 people died from opioid-involved overdoses in 2016. In Florida alone, more than 5,200 people have died from an opioid-related event in 2016 – a 35 percent increase from the year before.
The president’s initial emergency declaration expired on Jan. 23, 2018. On Jan. 24, Acting HHS Secretary Eric Hargan extended the emergency for another 90 days.
In addition to Nelson, the letter was signed by Sens. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Edward Markey (D-Mass.), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Bob Casey (D-Pa.), Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.), Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Tim Kaine (D-Va.), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Cory Booker (D-NJ), and Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.).
A copy of the lawmakers’ letter is here.
Attorney General Pam Bondi today issued the following statement on the unanimous approval of SB 8 by the Senate Appropriations Committee:
“I am thrilled this life-saving legislation is moving quickly through the legislature. We must continue our fight to end the opioid crisis that is claiming more than 14 lives a day in our state.”
Attorney General Pam Bondi, a member of the President’s Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis, today issued the following statement on the unanimous passage of the Commission’s final report:
“This report outlines a comprehensive approach to the nation’s most lethal public health epidemic in our country’s history—175 deaths a day. Addiction is a disease, and the report acknowledges this reality. We must dramatically expand drug treatment, change pain management practices to include non-opioid pain management treatments, do a better job of interdicting the supply of heroin and fentanyl into our country and implement a comprehensive national prevention campaign, among other things. This report lays the groundwork for such a comprehensive response by our nation to the opioid and drug abuse epidemic.”
To view the final report click here.
Palm Beach County Roundtable on Aug. 8
Senator Jack Latvala, Chairman of the Florida Senate Appropriations Committee, announced today that he will hold a roundtable discussion on the opioid epidemic next month in Palm Beach County. Latvala was invited by Senator Kevin Rader and Palm Beach County Commissioner Melissa McKinlay to visit Palm Beach County to learn first-hand about the issues surrounding the epidemic of opioid overdoses.
“Opioid abuse is a crisis facing our entire state. It’s costing lives and money. In fact, Florida hospital charges related to the heroin epidemic top $4 million a day,” Latvala said. “But the crisis seems to be affecting Palm Beach County more than many other parts of the state with more than 300 opioid overdoses in Palm Beach County already this year. Senator Rader and Commissioner McKinlay have worked particularly hard to bring attention to the issue. I want to visit and hear directly from the professionals and families involved with the issue,” Latvala added.
During the first five months of this year there were 311 opioid overdoses in Palm Beach County compared to 258 over same period in 2016. Last year there were a total of 592 opioid-related deaths in Palm Beach County alone.
Senator Latvala’s roundtable will be Tuesday, August 8 from 9:30 a.m. – 12 noon in Room PSD 108 at Palm Beach State College located at 4200 Congress Avenue in Lake Worth Florida.
Florida received a total of $54 million federal grant money to address the opioid crisis. State spending of the grant money is managed through the budget, which is administered in the Senate by the Appropriations Committee.