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Scott's Emergency Order Speeds Federal Help to Addicts

Governor Rick Scott’s recent emergency declaration means some 3,000 addicts in Florida will soon be getting access to opioid blockers like methadone, suboxone and naltrexone, health officials say.

The order cuts red tape tied to a 27 million-dollar federal grant Florida received in the wake of a national epidemic.

With an overdose death occurring every two hours in South Florida, Drug Policy Advisory Council member Mark Fontaine says much more needs to be done.

“I’ve been doing this work for 40 years, and I’ve never seen an epidemic like the one we’re faced with now. One of the things that was very clear on the listening tour was the pain the respective communities.”

Health officials are also prescribing an injectable, long-acting opioid blocker called Vivitrol to help addicts maintain sobriety.  The council expects to ask lawmakers next year to hire an epidemiologist to track the epidemic.

A Miami native, former WFSU reporter Jim Ash is an award-winning journalist with more than 20 years of experience, most of it in print. He has been a member of the Florida Capital Press Corps since 1992.