Yesterday, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (R) announced a new pilot program to assist Floridians with substance abuse, a plan that will establish a recovery network “to disrupt the opioid epidemic.” DeSantis was joined by multiple Florida health officials, as the programs will be under the purview of a joint-agency effort with the Florida Department of Health, Department of Children and Families, and the Agency for Health Care Administration.

The program is not an exclusively emergency response program, but also contains numerous aspects of recovery and goes by the acronym CORE (Coordinated Opioid Recovery).

“Patients will need dental care, primary care, psychiatric evaluation, maternal care, and social support services,” the state said. “Social support services can address career training, housing, or food insecurity.”

DeSantis said that the cause of the opioid epidemic in Florida stems from the lackadaisical immigration policy from the Biden administration.

“Biden’s border crisis has caused a massive infusion of drugs coming into our state,” said DeSantis. “This year we increased the penalties for individuals trafficking drugs in our state, and now we are giving Floridians the tools they need to break the substance abuse cycle. Substance abuse can affect any family at any time, so from education to law enforcement to treatment we are going to make sure that Floridians can take advantage of this new addiction recovery model.”

Florida Surgeon General Dr. Joseph Ladapo also joined DeSantis offering his support for the new program.

“Addiction is heartbreaking for all involved, and we ultimately want to help people address the stress traumas that led them to addiction,” said Ladapo. “One day the standard of care will address the trauma and the stress, but until then we have the evidence-based practices that exist in place. This program is an applied, intensive application to managing addiction through powerful, effective practice that connects people to what they need to get out of the horrific cycle of addiction.”

The head of the program, Statewide Director of Opioid Recovery Dr. Courtney Phillips, will provide support for the behavioral health system and said she was proud of the new initiative to combat the opioid epidemic.

“The state of Florida should be proud today to take the lead on systematically tackling the opioid and substance use epidemic with compassion and competent care,” Phillips said. “Our state and communities did not choose this epidemic, but today we choose to treat this medical and psychiatric illness like any other, with access, evidence based care, and lifelong comprehensive treatment.”

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Grant Holcomb is a reporter at The Florida Capital Star and The Star News Network. Follow Grant on Twitter and direct message tips.
Photo “Ron DeSantis” by Ron DeSantis.