Palm Beach County State Attorney Dave Aronberg added his name last week to the list of public officials begging Gov Rick Scott to recognize the opioid epidemic for the public health emergency that it is, or at least have the guts to look them in the eye and tell them why he won’t.
America’s opioid problem is so “yuge” that Scott’s pal, President Donald Trump. has added it to son-in-law Jared Kushner‘s portfolio of priorities. Maybe Aronberg can get an audience with Kushner next time he’s in residence in the Winter Palace at Mar-a-Lago. Better still for Kushner to cross the bridge and see for himself the suffering occasioned by the “proliferation of fraud and abuse in Florida’s addiction treatment industry.” The pain and misery visited upon addicts and the people who love them is incalcuable. The body count and hard dollar cost to taxpayers are much more easily measured. In Palm Beach County, with its plethora of shady “sober homes,” the numbers are staggering.
Since 2012, the number of opiod overdoses has doubled once and doubled again. Nearly 600 people overdosed-to-death in 2016, according to The Palm Beach Post. The newspaper has been crunching the data and telling the stories of the dead, and the ones left behind, for months. It makes for excruciating reading, but Scott and his “leadership team” are unmoved.
The Post shamed Scott into a throwing citizens, taxpayers and grieving survivors a small bone last month when the Governor grudgingly allowed he was “still reviewing” public officials’ pleas to take Florida’s opioid crisis seriously.
Then, he returned to his regularly scheduled talking points.
Aronberg will be harder to ignore than “the liberal media,” and the first responders and emergency room staffs who are staggering under the weight of an impossible workload and wondering why Scott is more worried about ISIS than the crisis they deal with daily. Aronberg served as Attorney General Pam Bondi’s pill mill point man.
Bondi, a reliable Scott supporter, loves to talk about her leadership in shutting down pill mills, and now serves on Trump’s task force on opiod and other drug abuse.
A public health emergency delcalarion is overdue, and an idea whose time has surely come. If Scott continues to stonewall, there will be more deaths, and more public officials bearing pleas and petitions. The line forms to Aronberg’s right.