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July 8, 2022

Drug overdoses have been a common phenomenon all over America – including in Florida - for years. But mass overdose cases are far less common. When they have happened, these things have often been centered in places like West Virginia where opioid addiction is widespread. But the tragedy has now come to Florida with a vengeance. Some 19 people overdosed on Fentanyl recently in Gadsden County. Six people died from the drug while it’s suspected to have played a role in another three deaths. The overdoses occurred during the Fourth of July weekend, and as Lynn Hatter reports, it’s got state and local officials sounding the alarm.

Florida’s new Office of Election Crimes and Security has its first director after Governor Ron DeSantis appointed former statewide prosecutor Peter Antonacci to the new post. Antonacci has a decades-long career in prosecutorial work. He’s also served as elections supervisor in Broward County, one of the most densely populated counties in the state. Leon County’s Elections Supervisor Mark Earley expressed his support for Antonacci’s appointment this week. Valerie Crowder spoke with Earley, who’s now the President of the Florida Supervisors of Elections, about what he expects to see from the new office.

Governor Ron DeSantis announced a new executive order, today/Friday, aimed at adding transparency to the role of pharmacy benefit managers in administering prescription drug programs, that he says may be contributing to increasing medication costs. At a press conference in Cape Coral, DeSantis also said the state could wind up in a legal battle with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration over the federal government’s delay in approving Florida’s Canadian drug importation program. WGCU’s John Davis reports.

The state of Florida is home to about 150 crisis pregnancy centers, which provide services like free ultrasounds and pregnancy tests. Many are run by faith-based organizations and receive state funding. But as WMNF’s McKenna Schueler [Shooler] reports, these clinics are explicitly anti-abortion, and can often be confused with licensed healthcare providers.

Schools in multiple states are installing panic button systems that allow students and teachers to silently alert law enforcement about an emergency. That’s thanks to family members of a student who was killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in 2018. We get that story from WLRN’s Kate Payne.

No matter which proposed route you look at, the northern extension of Florida’s Turnpike could destroy the African American community of Royal in Sumter County. While the Florida Department of Transportation now says it will tweak the routes to minimize the impact, as WMFE’s Joe Byrnes reports, residents are worried.