Florida: State of Emergency

Drug-related deaths soar in FLA

Florida’s medical examiners most recent report shows dramatic increases in all types of drug-related deaths, including a 97 percent increase in deaths caused by the synthetic opioid fentanyl.

The report, released Wednesday, found that the total number of drug-related deaths in Florida jumped 22 percent from 2015 to 2016.

Deaths due to fentanyl, a lethal synthetic opioid analgesic often mixed with heroin, spiked by 97 percent in a year, causing 1,390 deaths in 2016, according to the report. Manatee County saw the highest incidences of deaths due to fentanyl analogs, synthetic drugs similar to fentanyl but much more potent, with more than 25 deaths per 100,000 residents.

Senate Criminal and Civil Justice Appropriations Chairman Jeff Brandes called the numbers in the report “staggering.”

Imagine if we had a plane crashing in the state every month. We would do everything we could to stop that. That’s about the amount of people who are dying every month due to opioid addiction. We must put the same effort that we would put into a plane crashing every month and stopping that into this opioid addiction. It’s going to take an all-hands-on-deck approach to this.”

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Read more about Florida addiction stats at Health News Florida.

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