Orange County Government Awarded $2 Million Federal Grant to Bolster Local Fight Against Opioids
Orange County, Fla. – Orange County Government has been awarded a $2 million federal grant to expand life-saving training to local first responders, EMS providers and key stakeholders whose assistance may be needed during a suspected opioid/heroin overdose.
The grant will also help to fund Naloxone (Narcan) distribution to law enforcement personnel, making this life-saving opiate antidote immediately available for use in the setting of a suspected overdose before medical personnel arrive. The grant funds are awarded through the SAMHSA First Responder Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA). The agreement to receive the funds goes before the Orange County Board of County Commissioners on Tuesday, Feb 20 on the consent agenda. The initial award is in the amount of $500,000, with four annual installments totaling $2 million. Twenty one communities across the nation received funding, Orange County Government being the only grant recipient in Florida.
To date, Orange County Drug Free Office has trained more than 1,200 local law enforcement personnel on how to administer Naloxone when an opiate overdose is suspected. Any individual who receives Naloxone should always be immediately transported and evaluated at the nearest emergency department.
The CARA grant is aimed at providing funding to organizations and communities dedicated to prevention, treatment and recovery services for addiction in American communities. This achievement is a direct result of the work done by the Orange County Heroin Task Force, convened by Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs and co-chaired by Orange County Sherrif Jerry Demings in 2015.
In addition to life-saving training, the grant will establish two new positions at the county’s busiest emergency departments – Florida Hospital-East Orlando and Orlando Regional Medical Center. The positions will help establish and implement new protocols to help individuals and their families coordinate substance abuse treatment after they have been released from the hospital. The positions will work directly with hospital staff and members of the Orange County Heroin Task Force Advisory Committee.
Finally, funding will provide for an epidemiologist/evaluator position through the Orange County Department of Health who will collect and analyze emergency department related data, to look at trends in the community.
Individuals seeking information on local drug treatment services can dial 2-1-1 or go online OCFLHeroesAgainstHeroin.org to access the heroin toolkit which includes additional educational and prevention information.