State Attorney General Ashley Moody and 211 announced this week that they are teaming up to help Floridians struggling with opioid abuse.
The partnership comes as preliminary reports suggest the coronavirus pandemic may be exacerbating the opioid crisis. 211 is a free, telephone-based service offered by nonprofit and public agencies throughout Florida and the United States providing confidential information and referral services. Through the new partnership, 211 will share resources from Attorney General Moody’s website DoseOfRealityFL.com—a comprehensive statewide resource to help Floridians fight back against the opioid epidemic. DoseOfRealityFL.com, in turn, will point visitors to 211’s plethora of local resources.
“This partnership is designed to help Floridians, in their greatest time of need, access vital and life-saving resources. I am proud to partner with the dedicated public servants at 211 as we join forces to combat and end the deadly opioid crisis plaguing our state. If you are seeking help, please do not hesitate to dial 211 and for a comprehensive view of ways you can join our fight to end the opioid crisis, visit DoseOfRealityFL.com,” Moody said on Thursday.
Sheila Smith, the president and CEO of 211 Broward, also weighed in on the new effort.
“We are proud to partner with Dose of Reality to raise awareness about the resources available to those with opioid use disorder. 211 is a critical resource, and we encourage residents of Florida to dial 211 or visit our websites to connect with the local programs and services that can help them,” Smith said.
Provisional data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention include 70,980 fatal overdoses in 2019 with about 1,000 more deaths likely to be added, marking an increase from the year before. The data indicates the U.S. last year likely eclipsed the prior record high of 70,237 overdose deaths set in 2017, making this partnership an even more crucial tool to help Floridians fight back and curb the increase.
211 is staffed by trained professionals available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to help callers identify and connect with health and human service programs that can meet a variety of needs, including opioid addiction, crisis counseling and more. Services are available statewide through any cell phone provider, as well as through landlines in all of Florida’s 67 counties and nationwide in all 50 states.
In September 2019, Moody launched DoseOfRealityFL.com to help educate Floridians about the dangers of misusing prescription painkillers and other opioids, such as heroin and fentanyl. The statewide resource, now utilized by 211 through the new partnership, provides a one-stop shop of information about opioid use and resources for businesses, caregivers, educators, medical professionals, parents, seniors, service members, students, veterans and others.