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Florida lawmakers are trying to establish a pilot program to help newborns exposed to addictive drugs while in their mother’s womb.

As opioid abuse rises across the state some lawmakers are pushing to clear the way for more needle exchange programs.  Many physicians whole-heartedly support the strategy as a way to reduce the harm of drug abuse.

Florida House lawmakers are checking in on a 2016 measure meant to improve mental health and addiction treatment.

Stephanie Colombini / WUSF Public Media

Manatee and Sarasota Counties have seen overdose deaths from drugs like heroin, fentanyl and carfentanil spike in the past few years. At the same time, the number of children being removed from their homes and placed into the area’s foster care system has skyrocketed. There’s a connection between the increases.

Patrick Kennedy has gone from lawmaker with an active addiction to mental health advocate.

Stephanie Colombini / WUSF Public Media

As Health News Florida reported last week, the opioid crisis in Manatee and Sarasota Counties is putting a strain on their foster care system. But the situation isn't entirely bleak. Now we'll hear from one mother whose relationship with her son's foster parents helped her reunify her family and overcome her addiction.


Stephanie Colombini / WUSF Public Media

Parts of the stalled Senate health care bill could hurt those addicted to opioids, according to U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor. The Tampa Democrat says if the bill passes, it will limit access to substance abuse treatment.


Drug For Nerve Pain Boosts High For Opioid Abusers

Jul 6, 2017

On April 5, Ciera Smith sat in a car parked on the gravel driveway of the Rural Women’s Recovery Program here with a choice to make: go to jail or enter treatment for her addiction.

Law enforcement officials are warning of a deadly new drug hitting South Florida streets called “grey death.”

Gov. Rick Scott has declared a public health emergency across Florida for the opioid epidemic.

A measure placing gambling warnings on Florida lottery tickets is heading for the House floor.

Michael Botticelli served as President Obama's director of National Drug Control Policy, and pushed Congress to pass a funding measure last year making more money available for the treatment of opioid addiction.

Now he's concerned that the proposed Republican health plan will reduce access to health services for people with addiction.

As the addiction recovery industry boomed in South Florida over the past decade, so did the number of recovery residences - also known as sober homes.

A new Florida law allows more military vets to qualify for a diversion program meant to keep offenders out of prison. 

One Jacksonville army veteran said this program saved his life.


When Jack O'Connor was 19, he was so desperate to beat his addictions to alcohol and opioids that he took a really rash step. He joined the Marines.

"This will fix me," O'Connor thought as he went to boot camp. "It better fix me or I'm screwed."

After 13 weeks of sobriety and exercise and discipline, O'Connor completed basic training, but he started using again immediately.

"Same thing," he says. "Percocet, like, off the street. Pills."

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports prescription pill related deaths in Florida fell sharply in the past few years.

State officials have said it’s a sign laws aimed at cracking down on “pill mills” in the Sunshine State are working. But, addiction specialists say the crackdown has had some unintended consequences. 

Psychedelics May Have Helpful Properties

Jul 19, 2013

Magic mushrooms might prove to be more than just a symbol of hippie culture. Researchers from the University of South Florida discovered in mouse studies that low doses of psilocybin, the psychedelic ingredient in certain mushrooms, seemed to ease anxiety and lessen suffering, the Tampa Bay Times reports. They wonder whether the discovery could someday lead to a treatment for someone suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.