We received this from Melissa McKinlay’s office and are reprinting it here:
Tackling the opioid crisis that grips Palm Beach County is one of my top priorities. Last year, our county recorded 592 opioid-related deaths, and from 2012-2016, the county saw a 509% increase in fatal overdoses where opioids were present. These astounding statistics underscore just how tragic this epidemic has become.
I am relieved that Florida Governor Rick Scott finally heard the voices of so many who have been asking him to declare a public health emergency. For the pain from loss so many families have faced, to those struggling to overcome addiction, I am hopeful that the Governor’s declaration will open the door to a truly meaningful action plan to fight this disease and provide the resources needed to do so.
I want to thank the elected leaders and organizations that joined me in calling for this declaration to be made, including the Martin County Board of County Commissioners, State Attorney Dave Aronberg, Chief Judge Jeffrey Colbath, the Village of Wellington, the Palm Beach County League of Cities, and the Chamber of Commerce of the Palm Beaches. It has been encouraging to see so many members of our community recognizing this urgency and amplifying the voices of those who have been crying out to our state leadership for help.
Finally, I want to share with you actions the Board of County Commissioners recently took to combat the opioid epidemic at the local level. In addition to sending a letter to the Governor requesting an emergency declaration, the Board approved a report containing a multitude of strategies to address the problem; committed $3 million over the next two years for treatment and staffing expansion; and added three new positions, a senior-level manager to oversee the opioid epidemic response and, for the medical examiner’s office, an assistant medical examiner and forensic technician.
I look forward to working with my fellow commissioners, staff, and all of our community partners to save the lives of those suffering through this terrible crisis.