(Pembroke Pines, FL) August 29, 2017
In response to the growing number of people suffering and dying from the opioid abuse epidemic in Broward County, FL, Broward County Mayor Barbara Sharief held a town hall meeting Thursday morning where government leaders and healthcare professionals alike gathered to talk about finding a sustainable solution.“We are pooling our resources, not just on a county level, but with our 31 municipalities to combat this problem,” Sharief said. With over 300 people in attendance, Barbara Sharief and fellow officials conveyed the worrying statistics brought forth by local police. According to their coroners and medical examiners, an increase in heroin on the streets has resulted in the deaths of dozens of individuals via overdose every week. In the previous year alone, the lives of 582 people were claimed by their opioid addiction, with the numbers this year on track to break that record.
Heroin is one form of opiate that is commonly used on the streets. Medically, opiates are used to treat pain, but they have the notorious side effect of being highly addictive. Often times, people who have become addicted to prescription opiates will turn to heroin when their supply is cut off. Law enforcement, elected officials, and other experts attending Thursday’s meeting were briefed on specific details of heroin as well as how to tell if someone is high, and if they’re addicted. “It knows no socioeconomic boundaries, and so I believe that that’s why it’s become such a national epidemic,” said Sharief. “A person is addicted, and they’re having a crisis. They’re having a failure from [an] overdose of an opioid. We pay for that in the form of healthcare, emergency services and even at times, for mortuary services,” she said.
Thursday’s meeting not only discussed the particulars of heroin addiction but how to provide the resources and the tools that recovery specialists and programs need to be able to help break the cycle of addiction.
For more information on the opioid epidemic and what we can do to stop it, check out the official Barbara Sharief website.