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State agencies deploy resources to address fentanyl crisis

These steps follow recent deaths in Gadsden County from fentanyl overdoses that prompted first lady Casey DeSantis to call for a meeting to work out strategies to promote increased awareness.

The Florida Department of Children & Families and Department of Health are working together in an effort to raise the alarm about deadly fentanyl-laced drugs.

A public health and safety alert has been issued by the health department to ensure Floridians remain vigilant of the signs of overdose. The alert can be found here. And print and digital materials for first responders, teachers and public safety organizations are available for download here.

The agencies say responding to overdose requires education and readily available resources at the hands of communities, families, law enforcement, emergency medical services and health care providers.

These steps follow the recent deaths of six people in Gadsden County from fentanyl overdoses. That prompted first lady Casey DeSantis to call for a meeting to work out strategies to warn residents and promote increased awareness of the danger.

“When a person is suffering from a substance use disorder, it can be difficult to know where to turn,” said DCF Secretary Shevaun Harris. “Families and individuals can feel lost, but there are many resources available to help in every community across the state. Whether it’s finding a treatment program, recovery support or just someone to talk to, we can help connect individuals to supports that may save a life. By partnering with the first lady and DOH we are working to ensure that these services are more prominent, available, and accessible than ever before.”

For questions regarding potential overdoses and other drug-related exposures, Florida’s Poison Control Centers are a valuable resource to individuals throughout Florida, including emergency personnel. Poison Control Centers are staffed by health care professionals that are trained to provide assistance in treating drug overdoses or assessing patients exposed to drugs of abuse. Medical toxicologists are available 24/7 for physician consultations. For poisoning questions or emergencies, call 1-800-222-1222. Visit the website at floridapoisoncontrol.org.

HEROS (Helping Emergency Responders Obtain Support) is a health department program that provides free naloxone to emergency response agencies. Since the inception of the program in 2018, over 455,000 doses have been distributed to emergency response agencies in Florida through HEROS. All first responders in Florida are eligible to request free naloxone through this program. More information can be found here.

If you or your organization are interested in obtaining or managing naloxone for the community, visit I SAVE FL to find available resources through DCF.

“Substance use disorder significantly impacts the health and lives of individuals suffering from it,” said FloridaSurgeon General Dr. Joseph Ladapo. “Increasing awareness of drug abuse and available resources can help save Floridians from devastating and fatal health consequences. Our collaboration with DCF and alongside our communities is an essential part of the state’s continuing efforts to provide assistance and comprehensive resources to save lives together."

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