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FCEP takes active role on local initiatives to address Heroin overdoses

Since the passage of Florida’s comprehensive prescription drug legislation and subsequent implementation of the Prescript Drug Monitoring Program coupled with local law enforcement and regulatory changes, the number of illegal pill mills within the state has decreased and along with it the number of prescription related deaths. Unfortunately, with this decrease in pill mills there’s been an alarming increase in the usage of illegal drug, specifically heroin, as many individuals who have become addicted to opiates now seek cheaper alternatives.

In Orange County alone, law enforcement has seen a 400% increases in heroin submissions and according to the Florida Medical Examiner’s Office there’s been an 84% increase in heroin related deaths. Mayor Teresa Jacobs has formed the Orange County Heroin Task Force (OCHTF) who’s tasked with defining the extent of the heroin problem in Orange County, reviewing best practices, educating and engaging community stakeholders.

The OCHTF’s Healthcare Subcommittee, co-chaired by Drs. Josef Thundiyil and Kevin Sherin, will review current naloxone legislation, review current educational and training needs for medical students, resident physicians, physicians, nurses and other medical staff regarding: heroin use, prescription opioid abuse; pain management; safe prescribing practices; medication assistant treatment options and recovery support resources that are available within the community. They will work with the other formed subcommittees (Law Enforcement, Treatment, and Education) in a multi-jurisdictional effort to provide a viable solution that will prevent heroin related deaths and decrease usage in the county. The next meeting of the OCHTF is schedule for Friday, September 18th at 10:30am in the Orange County Administration Building. more

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