Gov. DeSantis announces expansion of opioid recovery program as he signs new fentanyl laws
FILE - Republican presidential candidate Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis waves at the Republican Party of Iowa's 2023 Lincoln Dinner in Des Moines, Iowa, July 28, 2023. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall, File)

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The CORE program is being expanded to 17 additional counties across the state.

The Gov. Ron DeSantis administration is doubling up its efforts to break the cycle of addiction and reduce the number of overdoses by expanding a medication-assisted treatment program to an additional 17 counties across Florida.

DeSantis announced that the Coordinated Opioid Recovery (CORE) Network Model program was being expanded to serve 29 counties total. He made the comments at a press conference where he also signed SB 66 and SB 718.

SB 718 makes it a second-degree felony to recklessly expose a first responder to fentanyl if the exposure results in an overdose or serious bodily injury.

“If an officer says ‘Do you have drugs in your possession?’ and you lie and then the officer ends up getting exposed and harmed, we are going to throw the book at you and we’re going to hold you accountable,” DeSantis said. “We want to make sure that the people that wear the uniform are protected. This is an important step to be able to do that.”

SB 66, meanwhile, creates “Victoria’s Law,” and designates June 6 as Revive Awareness Day. The bill encourages the Department of Health (DOH) to hold events to raise awareness of the dangers of opioid overdose and the availability and safe use of opioid antagonists as an effective way to rapidly reverse the effects of opioid overdose.

The law is named after the daughter of David Siegel and Jackie Siegel who died of an overdose.

DeSantis announced the launch of the CORE program in 12 countries in 2002 at a press conference in Rutledge.  DOH, the Department of Children and Families and the Agency for Health Care Administration coordinate the program

CORE encompasses a holistic approach, treating addiction as a disease. This comprehensive approach expands every aspect of overdose response and treats all primary and secondary impacts of substance use disorder, including coexisting medical and mental health conditions. CORE was successfully piloted in Palm Beach for two years before being taken to the state level.

CORE embraces medication-assisted treatment (MAT) plans which use a combination of therapy and medications that reduce withdrawals and cravings without producing the euphoria that the original substance did.

According to the DeSantis administration, within the first year, the initial 12 CORE network counties’ emergency medical providers connected 25,000 overdose patients to long-term recovery. Nearly 550,000 services that support the patient’s overall sustainable long-term recovery, including disease treatment, dental care, primary care, psychiatric evaluation, and maternal care were provided.

DeSantis said Monday there have been 607 fewer EMS-related calls for drug overdoses since the program was launched in 2022 in the initial counties. That’s a 3% reduction in EMS calls.

“We are on a pathway to continue to see stiff increases,” DeSantis said, adding that for the first six months of 2023 Escambia and Duval saw the number of EMS calls for drug-related overdoses drop compared to the same timeframe in 2022. DeSantis said there were 176 fewer calls in Escambia and 146 fewer calls in Duval.

DeSantis said the program was being expanded into Bay, Broward, Collier, Hernando, Hillsborough, Indian River, Lake, Lee, Leon, Miami-Dade, Monroe, Okaloosa, Orange, Polk, Sarasota, Seminole and St. Lucie Counties.

“So that’s a lot of people that are going to be impacted by this and we’re proud of that,” DeSantis said.

Christine Jordan Sexton

Tallahassee-based health care reporter who focuses on health care policy and the politics behind it. Medicaid, health insurance, workers’ compensation, and business and professional regulation are just a few of the things that keep me busy.

One comment

  • dont say fla

    April 9, 2024 at 3:41 pm

    Then what are Rhonda’s Homeless Camps supposed to be for?

Comments are closed.


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