Florida Governor Rick Scott signed an executive order on May 3rd that will enable the State to draw down early the $27 million in grant funds it was awarded on April 21st from the United State Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as part of the Opioid State Targeted Response Grant. The grant’s purpose is to distribute funding to efforts that “provide prevention, treatment and recovery support services.”
The Governor’s order comes at a time when the opioid epidemic is at the forefront of the American consciousness. It means two things for Florida’s opioid efforts; faster access to funds, and greater access to overdose antidotes.
1. Faster access to funds
In the absence of the order, the Department of Children and Families (DCF), Department of Health (DOH), and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) and other agencies would experience significant delays getting the funding on the ground. According to a press release from the Governor’s office, “Without the order, it would have taken months for the state to distribute these funds to local communities.”
Read the Governor’s Press Release here.
The Executive Order, Number 17-146 cites over 3,900 opioid related deaths in 2015, and over 33,000 nationwide in the same year. The funding was initially available for the state of Florida at the beginning of the 2017 fiscal year, which doesn’t begin until July 1st. The Governor’s emergency declaration allows the state to expedite the processing of the funding and will get it into the communities faster.
2. Increased access to naloxone
The second major part of the order empowers the State Health Officer and Surgeon General to “issue a standing order for approved opioid antagonists to ensure emergency responders have access to this lifesaving medication.” Surgeon General Celeste Philip jointly issued a standing prescription to all pharmacists with an active license in a participating pharmacy to issue Naloxone injectors or nasals to emergency responders, with the expectation that SAMSHA’s Opioid Overdose Prevention Toolkit Five Essential Steps for First Responders will be followed.
Read the full text of Executive Order, Number 17-146 here.
It is expected that this executive order will speed up the distribution of funds, so Substance Abuse Treatment organizations should be on the lookout for upcoming bids to be released by Managing Entities.
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