Citing reports that “suggest 14 Floridians have died every day in the first half of this year due to opioids,” state Sen. Jack Latvala, R-Clearwater, on Monday called on Gov. Rick Scott to extend his state of emergency declaration regarding opioid abuse.
He’s also calling on the governor to free-up another $20 million in reserves to combat the epidemic crisis in Florida.
Latvala, who announced earlier this month he is running for governor next year, says there are more deaths today in Florida from opioid overdoses than there were during the height of the “pill mill” crisis.
“If this trend continues, by the time the Legislature passes a budget in March 2018, over 2,700 more Floridians could die,” Latvala wrote in his letter to the governor. “Florida’s citizens cannot wait until then for more financial resources to combat this public health crisis.”
Scott issued a 60-day executive order the beginning of May and renewed it at the end of June. The order ends this week.
The original order made $27 million in federal money available to help Florida deal with the opioid crisis.
If the governor were to agree to make another $20 million available, Latvala suggests using more than half of that money on detox services and residential treatment. Another $2.4 million would be used for prevention.
Florida has been one of the states hit hardest by the opioid epidemic.
Latvala took part in a townhall meeting in West Palm Beach three weeks ago where a Senate panel listened to testimony about the opioid crisis in Florida.
“The opioid crisis presents an existential threat to the people of our state as entire generations are quickly being lost, or unable to meaningfully contribute as productive members of our society and economy,” Latvala wrote to the governor.