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Okaloosa County Begins Opioid Abatement Initiatives Funded by the Florida Opioid Settlement

todayJune 10, 2024 11

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A special press release meeting was held on June 6 by Okaloosa County to honor Revive Awareness Day and and the County’s key opioid epidemic abatement initiatives beginning in June.

Representatives from local agencies outlined the problems and strategies it is implementing to address strategies response to the drug epidemic and how those strategies will be funded.

Florida Department of Health in Okaloosa County Administrator Elizabeth Smith introduced the newly formed Okaloosa County Health Improvement Partnership (OCHIP) as “a group of agencies, organizations, businesses, and community members who want to improve the health of Okaloosa County residents.”

As a result of the Florida Opioid Settlement, Okaloosa County’s opioid epidemic abatement programs will be funded from its allocation of the State of Florida’s $205.7 million year one monies to support tactics designed to reduce opioid addiction.

The five key strategies Okaloosa County are:

  1. Prevention
  2. Coordinated Opioid Recovery Network (CORE)
  3. Treatment
  4. Recovery & Peer Supports
  5. Technology/Data Exchange

Chairman County Commissioner for District 1 Chairman Paul Mixon shared the proclamation declaring June 6 Revive Awareness Day and tasking the Florida Department of Health with raising awareness of the dangers of opioid overdose and the importance of reversal drugs like Narcan®. The proclamation was signed by Governor DeSantis on April 8 of this year

Okaloosa Public Safety Director Patrick Maddox explained a new Community Paramedicine program utilizing specially-trained Community who will visit at-risk patients via a mobile program designed to treat and screen for the effects of opioid use disorder and associated comorbidities.

Bonnie Barlow, CEO of Bridgeway Center, Inc., explained her organization’s partnership with other local agencies in order to tailor services based on the individual. She also addressed the expansion of the organization’s Outpatient Detox Unit to 24/7 service.

Fort Walton Beach Police Chief Robert Bage who also serves as Co-Chair of the Healthy Community OCHIP group with Mayor JB Whitten of Crestview addressed post-overdose support and its necessity.

More detailed information about Okaloosa County’s plans with its opioid abatement strategies may be found at Emerald Coast Connected.

June Scroggin
Author: June Scroggin

Staff writer for Omni Broadcasting, June is curious about most everything and is adept at meticulously researching any topic. She enjoys the challenge of various writing styles—succinct “just-the-facts, ma’am” as well as energetic irreverence (while still factual).

Written by: June Scroggin

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