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From medical professionals to law enforcement to recovering addicts, the opioid crisis has affected people from all walks of life.

At a University of South Florida symposium Wednesday, experts said it will take them all working together to end the opioid crisis.

Florida may be on the right track to reducing the amount of opioid-caused deaths, according to the Department of Children and Families, but only if that state can find funding.

Drug Database Bill Goes To DeSantis

Jun 14, 2019

Gov. Ron DeSantis on Thursday formally received 22 bills from the Legislature, including a measure that Attorney General Ashley Moody has sought to help in a legal fight against the pharmaceutical industry. 

Bill Would Let Schools Have Opioid-Countering Drugs

Feb 15, 2019

A Senate Democrat on Thursday filed a proposal that would allow public schools to buy a type of drug that is used to treat people who have overdosed on opioids. 

Haines City Police Department

The opioid crisis is affecting communities of all sizes across the country. In one example, Haines City has equipped all officers in its police department with a life-saving drug that combats opioid overdoses.

WUSF

Saturday is National Drug Take Back Day, in which people are encouraged to clean out their old prescriptions and properly dispose them. The Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office is one of many police departments that will be participating.

Danny Alvarez, Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office Spokesperson, said that properly disposing drugs will protect everyone from potential opioid abuse.

Saying it is critical to “stop the addiction in the beginning,” Gov. Rick Scott on Monday signed a high-profile bill designed to prevent patients from getting hooked on powerful opioids.

A program to give naloxone overdose-antidote kits and training to front-line officers. Funding for pill disposal boxes in pharmacies, clinics and police stations across North Carolina. A radio campaign in Connecticut warning of the dangers of opioid abuse. A new medicine to treat opioid-induced constipation.

State legislators came to Palm Beach County Tuesday to discuss the opioid crisis.

Of the three medications that treat opioid addiction, one got more attention in the Florida Legislature this year.

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

The man had just risen from the dead.

He’s in his mid-20’s. Sitting on a couch in a house in Delray Beach. Pale as a ghost, sweaty, wide-eyed, disoriented.  Like he just woke up from a nightmare.

The trouble started for Lisa when she took a blood pressure pill and one to control seizures, along with methadone, a drug used to help wean patients off heroin.

"I inadvertently did the methadone cocktail and I went to sleep for like 48 hours," Lisa says, rolling her eyes and coughing out a laugh. "It kicked my butt. It really kicked my butt."

Both prescription and illegal opioids are driving a national spike in overdose deaths. According to the Centers for Disease Control, they were involved in more than 33,000 deaths in 2015. Florida has seen a dramatic increase in opioid-driven overdoses, up more than 20 percent.  Yet, lawmakers are still grappling with how to address the issue.

Florida is reeling from an opioid epidemic that spans young and old, rural and urban. State lawmakers are once again trying to reduce overdose deaths and prevent addiction.

Carfentanil is an opiate 10,000 times more powerful than morphine. And since last summer, it's been killing addicts and confounding first responders across the country.

Carolyn Rossi has been a registered nurse for 27 years, and she's been fiercely protective of infants in her intensive care unit — babies born too soon, babies born with physical and cognitive abnormalities and, increasingly, babies born dependent on opioids.

Amanda Hensley started abusing prescription painkillers when she was just a teenager. For years, she managed to function and hold down jobs. She even quit opioids for a while when she was pregnant with her now 4-year-old son. But she relapsed.

Hensley says she preferred drugs like Percocet and morphine, but opted for heroin when she was short on cash.

By the time she discovered she was pregnant last year, she couldn't quit.

This story is first in our four-part series Treating the Tiniest Opioid Patients, a collaboration produced by NPR's National & Science Desks, local member stations and Kaiser Health News.