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Push to end opioid abuse draws support

January 25th, 2017 by Mike Vasilinda

91 people die of heroin or opioid abuse every day in the US, ten of them in Florida. Officials call it an epidemic and are pushing lawmakers for more money for treatment. James Crutchfield, the chief of Manatee County Paramedicine told reporters the county is the epicenter of the epidemic.

“EMS has responded to heroin overdose twenty times last year. in our county, we’ve had a 670 percent increase in the use of Narcan since 2013, and last year alone we administered 2,504 doses of Narcan, costing well over two hundred thousand dollar for the county taxpayers” says the EMS chief.

Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri says he office will keep arresting those dealing, but arresting users is a waste of time.

“It serves no purpose to jail the users. those are the people who need help, and we want to make sure they can get that help” says Gualtieri. “And through organizations like NOPE, Narcotics overdose Prevention Education, the other organizations, we want to make sure they get all the resources they need because that’s where we’re going to make a difference with this problem.”

Heroin now accounts for half of all drug deaths in Florida. Usage increased after the state dried up the pill mill market,

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