This week, Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody held the second 2020 meeting of the Statewide Task Force on Opioid Abuse in Bradenton. Moody is the chairwoman of the task force.
With 15 Floridians dying on a daily basis due to opioids, U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-Fla., addressed the task force. So did members of state agencies and community organizations.
“Prevention is such a vital component in the fight to end the opioid crisis in Florida and save lives,” Moody said. “We lose 15 people every day to opioid abuse and that is why the work of our Statewide Task Force is so important. I want to thank Congressman Buchanan for joining us today, and for his commitment to fighting drug abuse through his work in our nation’s capital. I look forward to continuing to partner with local, state and federal authorities to advance this important mission and save lives.”
“For too long, fentanyl and other opioids have wreaked havoc on communities in Florida and across the country. We need to continue our efforts to fight opioids. I thank the attorney general for leading the state’s efforts on this issue and I look forward to learning more about what we can do together at the state and federal level to address this issue,” said Buchanan.
Task Force members heard from representatives of the Florida Department of Education, who described the new educational requirements for school districts on teaching how to spot and report substance abuse. Task Force members then listened to a presentation from the Florida Department of Health on the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program and current prescribing trends. Following that, the executive director of the Community Coalition Alliance gave a report to the group on how building community coalitions plays a major role in raising awareness and promoting prevention. A representative from Ernst & Young spoke about a new predictive analytics program capable of identifying individuals with high-risk of addiction for early intervention. Finally, the Task Force heard from a professor of medicine on the Maternal Opioid Recovery Effort, an awareness and prevention initiative for providing information and resources for pregnant women about the dangers of opioid abuse
The Task Force is charged with developing a statewide strategy to identify best practices to combat the opioid epidemic through education, law enforcement efforts, treatment, prevention and recovery. The Task Force will then present its findings to Governor Ron DeSantis, state Senate President Bill Galvano, R-Bradenton, and state House Speaker Jose Oliva, R-Miami Lakes.