The decline is far more pronounced in the Flagler region than in the state, strongly suggesting that the introduction of front-line life-saving measures, combined with stricter state rules on prescription drugs, is having an effect.
Gov. DeSantis has championed the legislation as a way to curb prescription drug costs. But his effort continues to draw opposition from representatives of the pharmaceutical industry who say importing drugs could increase the amount of unsafe and counterfeit drugs.
Deaths related to heroin and fentanyl use are rising locally, and deaths related to prescription drugs spiked 22 percent as the region proves not immune to the opioid crisis.
Savannah Deangelis of Palm Coast, a Matanzas High graduate, overdosed in late October after being expelled from a recovery program in dubious circumstances after the hurricane.
Palm Coast’s Joseph Colon, 34, has been in and out of jail and prison over drug dealing for years, but his arrest on heroin and fentanyl trafficking charges masks the much broader, more legal source of the crisis.
A combination of short-term intensive treatment beds, long-term outpatient services and medically assisted treatment could be the blueprint for a solution, a powerful lawmaker says.
Doctors would be limited to prescribing seven days’ worth of opioids for patients with acute pain and would have to check a statewide database before ordering most prescription pain medications.
The concern is that performing more than the recommended limit of 325 autopsies in a year, in addition to other duties such as testifying in court, could result in errors.
A 30-year-old woman was arrested while her 5-year-old son slept in a bedroom sheriff’s deputies said was stashed with hundreds of oxycodone pills, bags of pot and close to $9,000 in cash.
In the four-county district that includes Flagler, only two heroin-deaths deaths were recorded in 2015, eight deaths were attributed to fentanyl, and 43 to prescription drugs overall.