Will Florida’s Deadly Opioid Scene Finally be Declared an Epidemic?
Just to give you an idea of how dangerously available heroin is in Florida, and how easy it is for someone to try it and get hooked on it or cause trouble for others, Florida’s Governor Scott is currently being pushed to declare Florida’s heroin crisis to be a public health emergency. Is your neighborhood safe?
Why do Florida officials want the heroin epidemic declared a public health emergency? Because as of October 2015 the hospital charges for heroin-related medical situations is costing the State more than $4.1 million a day. That’s more than $1 billion in that year alone.
Even now, 1 ½ years later, there is no sign of the ravaging effects of heroin letting up.
If the problem is declared a public health emergency, more resources will be devoted to handling the problem instead of just paying medical bills.
Consequences for Floridians
This isn’t just an expense for the State – or for the tax-paying public (that’s you) who are footing the bill – it is also a sign of how dangerous the State really is both for people who may take the drug, whether they get addicted or not, and those in their surroundings.
It’s also indicative of the amount of heroin-related crime there is around.
- drug dealers
- robbery committed by people who need money for their next fix
- drugged people driving cars
- families being torn apart by everything from their kids being out there on the street, possibly homeless, to them stealing money from friends, parents, and grandparents – even down to taking the TV set and other property from the home so they can sell it
- heroin users sharing needles with others who may be HIV positive.The HIV drug, Harvoni, was the highest-grossing drug covered by Medicare in 2015 – the latest date for which statistics are available (although it was also the highest grossing drug in 2014). The cost of Harvoni was $7.03 billion, nearly twice a high as the next highest drug, for that year alone. That’s a LOT of Harvoni, and a LOT of HIV.And that’s only what it costs to supply people who qualify for Medicare. A small percentage of the population.
And there’s more. Ask any parent, spouse or friend of a heroin addict and they can tell you how bad it can get.
It has been promoted that the heroin problem is really only serious in south Florida but according to an article in the Palm Beach Post, “No west coast beach side community is too upscale, no Florida Panhandle town too small for a nearby hospital to be free from the financial fallout.’
According to the Florida Senate Minority Leader Oscar Braynon, and the Florida Senate Democratic Caucus – who just requested that the Florida heroin situation be declared a public health emergency – there is no program, no plan, no defense in operation in Florida to stop this epidemic.
Two weeks prior to Braynon and the Caucus calling for the emergency public health crisis declare, Palm Beach County Commissioner Melissa McKinlay sent Governor Scott a letter asking for the same thing.
In Ms. McKinlay’s letter, she also said that according to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, the heroin deaths increased by 80 percent and the Fentanyl (a form of heroin that can be 100 times stronger than others) deaths by 77 percent in a one-year period from 2014 to 2015.
Would you like to see more done about this? Are you on heroin or fentanyl, or is someone you care about? Do you know someone involved with drugs in any way that you would like to see get help? Do you want to live in an environment with a lot of potential drug-related crime threatening your neighborhood?
Then consider backing up these requests to declare it a public health emergency so Florida devotes more resources to handling the drug problem, and less to hospital expenses for the victims.