Oscar Braynon calls for emergency declaration on heroin

heroin

Citing reports that heroin and fentanyl overdose deaths and public health costs are exploding in numbers in Florida, Senate Minority Leader Oscar Braynon called Monday for Florida to declare a public health emergency.

In a letter, Braynon urged Gov. Rick Scott to have Florida Surgeon General Dr. Celeste Philip to declare the public health emergency, which would give state agencies wider latitude to address the growing problem.

His call was made on behalf of the entire Florida Senate Democratic Caucus.

Braynon’s call echoes one made by Palm Beach County Commissioner Melissa McKinlay two weeks ago. And that call follows media reports in the Palm Beach Post, the Miami Herald and elsewhere detailing the impacts, including 77 percent or better increases in deaths. Earlier this month The Post estimated the heroin epidemic is costing $1.1 billion a year in Florida hospital charges.

“No longer confined to small urban enclaves, heroin and fentanyl have become the scourge of communities throughout Florida, wreaking widespread devastation not only from the ravages of addiction, but the resurgence of deadly diseases associated with drug abuse,” Braynon wrote. “There is no family, no race, no ethnicity, no income level this epidemic cannot touch, and no effective state bulwark in place to stop it.”

Braynon noted that public health emergencies were declared in 2011 during the height of the pill mill epidemic and the Zika outbreak in South Florida last year.

“This letter is to request that you issue a similar order urgently needed to address the growing threat and rising body count arising from Florida’s opioid-addiction crisis,” he wrote.

Scott Powers

Scott Powers is an Orlando-based political journalist with 30+ years’ experience, mostly at newspapers such as the Orlando Sentinel and the Columbus Dispatch. He covers local, state and federal politics and space news across much of Central Florida. His career earned numerous journalism awards for stories ranging from the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster to presidential elections to misplaced nuclear waste. He and his wife Connie have three grown children. Besides them, he’s into mystery and suspense books and movies, rock, blues, basketball, baseball, writing unpublished novels, and being amused. Email him at [email protected]


5 comments

  • Jimbo Breland

    February 20, 2017 at 1:58 pm

    THE UNITED STATES HAD A OPPORTUNITY TO REGULATE OPIOID ABUSE YEARS AGO BY SEVERELY PUNISHING DISTRIBUTORS , DOCTORS AND PHARMACIST WHO WERE SUPPLYING THE MARKET !

    BUT NO…CONGRESS CHOSE TO PUNISH MILLIONS OF LEGITIMATE OPIOID PATIENTS ! WHY YOU ASK ?
    BECAUSE THE PFIZER’S, PERDUE’S AND RENKITT-BENCKISER’S OF THE PHARMACEUTICAL MANUFACTURING INDUSTRY HAS EVERY LAST
    CONGRESSMAN AND MOST STATE GOVERNORS AND
    LEGISLATURES’ ON THERE #PAC PAYROLL !

    RENCKITT-BENCKISER’S SUBOXONE PATENT WAS ENDING AND THERE WERE TWO NEW COMPANIES WAITING TO BUST THE CEILING ON WALL STREET ON SUBOXONE !
    THEY ESPECIALLY WANTED TO UP THE ANTE AT THE VA !

    NOW THAT THE US & THE VA ARE LETTING MILLIONS OF #VETS SUFFER, HIGHER NUMBERS CHOOSE SUICIDE
    …THE REST CHOOSE THE
    NEIGHBORHOOD HEROIN DEALER.

    THE UNITED STATE’S ‘ DUG THIS HOLE THEMSELF…OUT OF GREED FO MO MONEY !

  • Maureen

    February 20, 2017 at 5:38 pm

    The picture should not be a needle which pushes further prejudicial thinking and decisions. Report the fact that legally prescribed narcotic deaths are still 2 times higher than all illegal drugs combined. The picture should be of a physician, a prescription pad and a pill bottle. That is the ongoing most urgent problem in this country where >80% of the entire world’s opioud s are consumed yet we comprise <5% of the world's population. Now those are the facts that must be published in this man made physician controlled epidemic of massive morbidity and mortality. An epidemic injuring our vulnerable senior Medicare population at 3 times the rate of all other populations. Feeding into the pharmaceutical brilliantly fatal marketing of "abuse". Taken as prescribed is killing and injuring far more people than abuse. Check your facts and stop pushing prejudicial information.

  • Becky Jamin

    February 20, 2017 at 10:00 pm

    It’s so sad that Florida legislators like Kristen Jacobs and Darryl Rouson think that these heroin/fentanyl deaths are ok as long as big pharma and the drug rehab industries keep filling their pockets. Jacobs has the nerve to try, for the 4th year in a row, to ask Florida to ban the ONE botanical that could, without a doubt, help STOP many of these addicts kick these horrible deadly addictions! Most of these people don’t want to be addicts, but they can’t afford rehab programs! Kratom SAVES LIVES! Go to http://www.botanical-education.org and http://www.americankratomassociation.org and also please visit http://www.kratomliteracyprojebt.com for TRUTH about the wonders of Kratom. Kratom SAVES LIVES!

  • Bekkah M

    February 21, 2017 at 9:23 am

    I have friends and family in Florida. Some of which are these addicts you speak of, and the legitimate pain management patients you neglected to mention here… Or in any of the other articles I’ve read on this site regarding this matter. This epidemic is not isolated to Florida, so its probably time to recognize that, number one, and number two, it’s high past time to recognize that their are safe alternatives out there – tools in the tool kit, so to speak – that you people ignore, but could easily be utilized to help your constituents through this true nightmare of an opioid epidemic. Please consider some research into the plant Kratom, and possibly concede that it could truly be helpful for your state’s situation (all of our state’s, really), as is helped so many people break free from the chains of opiate addiction and chronic pain, including myself. Anyone in the Kratom community would happily give you information and their experiences, all you have to do is ask and you’ll see just how amazing Kratom had been for hundreds of thousands out there.

  • Kratom Literacy Project

    February 21, 2017 at 10:55 am

    These are the consequences of federal agencies interfering in the doctor patient relationship. FDA approved drugs along with ADR’s (adverse drug reactions) and preventable hospital errors kill far more people than heroin and cocaine combined. But you won’t see the media reporting on that anytime soon.

    The real public health emergency is that we have 70% of the population on “government sanctioned” pharmaceutical pills when there are just as safe and effective treatments within herbal medicine. Marijuana is a perfect example of this.

    If the DEA hadn’t scheduled Tramadol, then everyone would not be turning to heroin to self-medicate their pain. Meanwhile, alcohol and tobacco sales enjoy lucrative profits. Where is the state of emergency for the 100 million Americans who suffer from chronic pain and cannot get adequate treatment?

    Get the government OUT of healthcare, just like you separate church and state. I don’t need a babysitter. Neither does anyone else.

    I don’t see the government freaking out about the deaths caused by alcohol, cigarettes and legally prescribed drugs. What makes this so special?

    I had best friend overdose and die from Fentanyl. It’s heartbreaking, but we should handle this in the same manner as Portugal and decriminalize all drugs and end prohibition.

Comments are closed.


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