July 15, 2022 – Last week, First Lady Casey DeSantis convened Florida Department of Children and Families Secretary Shevaun Harris, State Surgeon General Dr. Joseph Ladapo, and forces order to discuss recent increases in overdoses associated with fentanyl in Gadsden County.
As a result of this meeting, the Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF) and the Florida Department of Health (DOH) worked together to roll out public awareness materials regarding the dangers of substance abuse, particularly drugs containing sodium. fentanyl. Responding to an overdose requires education and resources readily available to communities, families, law enforcement, emergency medical services, and healthcare providers.
On July 15, 2022, educational materials are being rolled out across the state to ensure Floridians are aware of the signs of overdose and how to respond to them. Both print and digital materials can be downloaded here. A public health and safety alert was also deployed by the DOH on July 8, 2022 to ensure Floridians remain vigilant for signs of an overdose. This alert is located here.
“When someone has a substance use disorder, it can be difficult to know where to turn,” said DCF Secretary Shevaun Harris. “Families and individuals may 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 people find supports that can save a life. By partnering with the First Lady and the DOH, we are working to make these services more important, available, and accessible than ever before.
“Substance use disorder has a significant impact on the health and lives of those who suffer from it,” said State General surgeon Dr. Joseph Ladapo. “Increased awareness of substance abuse and available resources can help save Floridians from devastating and deadly health consequences. Our collaboration with DCF and alongside our communities is an essential part of the state’s ongoing efforts to provide comprehensive assistance and resources to save lives together.
For questions about potential overdoses and other drug-related exposures, Florida Poison Control Centers are a valuable resource for people across Florida, including emergency personnel. Poison control centers are staffed with specially trained medical professionals to provide assistance in the treatment of drug overdoses or to assess patients exposed to drugs of abuse. Medical toxicologists are available 24/7 for medical 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 DOH program that provides free naloxone to emergency response agencies. Since the program’s launch in 2018, more than 455,000 doses have been distributed to emergency response agencies in Florida through HEROS. All first responders in Florida can request free naloxone through this program. More information can be found here.
If you or your organization would like to obtain or manage naloxone for the community, please visit I SAVE FL to find resources available through DCF.
About the Florida Department of Health
The Florida Department of Health, nationally accredited by the Public Health Accreditation Board, strives to protect, promote, and improve the health of all Florida residents through integrated state, county and community.
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