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Florida First Lady Casey DeSantis announced an over $58 million dollar grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to combat Florida’s opioid addiction crisis.

Florida Department of Health officials said the ‘Overdose Data-To-Action’ grant will also funnel $12 million dollars annually to county health departments in Broward, Duval and Palm Beach. 

Good news came out from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Wednesday: Preliminary data shows reported drug overdoses declined 4.2% in 2018, after rising precipitously for decades.

America's big drugmakers and pharmacy chains are scrambling to respond to hundreds of lawsuits tied to the deadly opioid epidemic. Billions of dollars are at stake if the companies are found liable for fueling the crisis.

Even before judgments are rendered, companies like Purdue Pharma, Johnson & Johnson and CVS are already suffering damage to their reputations as evidence in civil suits reveals more about their internal workings.

Daylina Miller / WUSF Public Media

Bills filed in the Florida House and Senate could give patients more control over how they're treated for pain.

Researchers sketched a vivid line Friday linking the dollars spent by drugmakers to woo doctors around the country to a vast opioid epidemic that has led to tens of thousands of deaths.

The study, published in JAMA Network Open, looked at county-specific federal data and found that the more opioid-related marketing dollars were spent in a county, the higher the rates of doctors who prescribed those drugs and, ultimately, the more overdose deaths occurred in that county.

Lawmaker Seeks Warning Sticker For Opioids

Jan 16, 2019

Florida lawmakers continue to respond to the state’s opioid epidemic, with Rep. Joe Geller, D-Aventura, filing a bill Tuesday that, among other things, would require pharmacists to place red warning stickers on prescription drug bottles containing opioids or other controlled substances.

Opioid-Makers Face Wave of Lawsuits in 2019

Dec 31, 2018

The next 12 months might just redefine the way America thinks about and responds to the opioid epidemic that now claims more than 40,000 lives each year. The nation's biggest drugmakers and distributors face a wave of civil lawsuits that could total tens of billions of dollars in damages.

Meth Is Back And Hospitalizations Surge

Nov 26, 2018

The number of people hospitalized because of amphetamine use is skyrocketing in the United States, but the resurgence of the drug largely has been overshadowed by the nation’s intense focus on opioids.

Drug overdose deaths hit the highest level ever recorded in the United States last year, with an estimated 200 people dying per day, according to a report by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. Most of that was the result of a record number of opioid-related deaths.

Trump Signs Bipartisan Measure To Confront Opioid Crisis

Oct 25, 2018

President Donald Trump pledged on Wednesday to put an "extremely big dent" in the scourge of drug addiction in America as he signed legislation intended to help tackle the opioid crisis, the deadliest epidemic of overdoses in the country's history.

Broward County is about to get more money for programs helping people fight their opioid addictions. 

The federal government set aside nearly $1 billion to fight the opioid crisis nationwide this year. Florida is set to receive $49.3 million from those funds, of which  an estimated $7-10 million is going to Broward County.

County officials don’t know yet exactly how much they will get. 

Learning disabilities and other special education needs are common in children born with opioid-related symptoms from their mother's drug use while pregnant, according to the first big U.S. study to examine potential long-term problems in these infants.

Four inmates sit silently in the library of the Franklin County House of Correction one summer morning. But these men aren't here to read books.

A former Florida doctor previously convicted in the overdose death of one of his patients has been sentenced 157 years in prison for drug trafficking.

The head of the nation's top public health agency says the opioid epidemic will be one of his priorities, and he revealed a personal reason for it: His son almost died from taking cocaine contaminated with the powerful painkiller fentanyl.

News organizations are pushing for the public release of data detailing the distribution of prescription opioids throughout the U.S., information that could show how drug manufacturers and distributors contributed to the nation's addiction and overdose crisis.

The law that took effect July 1 limits prescriptions of opioids for acute pain to three days, although a seven day supply can be prescribed under certain conditions. 

The South Florida United States Attorney’s Office announced 124 charges against South Florida doctors, nurses and other licensed medical professionals on Thursday as part of what authorities are calling the largest nationwide takedown on health care fraud and those fueling the opioid crisis.

There is another opioid crisis happening in the U.S., and it has nothing to do with the overdose epidemic: Hospitals are frequently running out of widely used injected painkillers.

For most of her childhood, growing up in southeastern Pennsylvania, Kelly Zimmerman felt alone and anxious.

She despaired when her mother was depressed or working late shifts; when her parents fought nonstop; when her friends wanted to come over, and she felt too ashamed to let them see her home's buckling floor, the lack of running water.

Kelly tried to shut out those feelings, and when she was 18, a boyfriend offered her an opioid painkiller — Percocet.

Her anxiety dissolved, at least for a little while.

Health Care Boards To Huddle About Drug Rules

Jun 12, 2018

Florida lawmakers this year passed a bill that limits prescribing of controlled substances for patients suffering from acute pain and mandates new continuing education requirements for health-care professionals as ways to combat the state’s growing opioid problem. 

An attorney for the company that makes the prescription opioid painkiller OxyContin says there is an opioid crisis.

People with addiction to opioids and their support network can get instant, anonymous help in seeking treatment. 

Florida sues the nation’s biggest drug makers, political battles heat up and Hillsborough attracts a Fortune 500 company headquarters.

Those are just some of the latest state news stories we’ll discuss with reporters on this month’s edition of our Florida Matters news roundtable.


Florida is suing drug companies that have steered more than $1 million to politicians over the last 20 years.

Judge Hammers State On Methadone Clinic Applications

Apr 27, 2018

Pointing to an arbitrary process that “ignores substance in favor of blind luck,” an administrative law judge Thursday rejected a state emergency rule drawn up to help license more methadone-treatment centers across Florida.

Pain management physicians had a role in creating the opioid crisis and some of those doctors are now working to solve the problem.

Florida will get another $27 million dollars this year from the federal government to combat the opioid crisis.

Miami Sues Drug Makers Over Opioid Epidemic

Apr 18, 2018

In 2016, the city of Miami saw 641 opioid-related overdoses, a 20 percent increase from the year before. Now, attorneys for the city have filed a lawsuit in Miami-Dade County circuit court alleging that drug manufacturers violated Florida law by aggressively and deceptively marketing opioids as safe. 

From opioid prescription limits to an agreement on the regulation of trauma centers, it was a busy year for health care issues in the Florida Legislature.

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