Gov. Rick Scott today directed the Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF) to begin using a new federal grant to increase access to medication-assisted treatment, reduce opioid-related deaths and equip professionals with the necessary tools to combat the national opioid epidemic in Florida.
DCF applied for, and received, more than $50 million from the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) to continue providing treatment and recovery support services for individuals seeking help for opioid use. The funding is in addition to $65 million already being used to combat opioid use and addiction. The governor’s existing executive order enables DCF to immediately begin drawing down and distributing these funds.
Said Scott, “In Florida, we are standing with families who are fighting opioid addiction and will continue to find ways to help our communities and law enforcement agencies. This more than $50 million in additional funding will provide important recovery services for many families and aid in our fight against the national opioid epidemic.
"Since I took office, we have invested more than $8 billion to better coordinate mental health and substance abuse services in Florida’s communities, including $65 million during the 2018 legislative session. We will continue to work closely with our federal, state and local partners throughout this fight.”
The state opioid response grant will be used to expand medication-assisted treatment across the state, distribute more than 40,000 naloxone kits per year, and provide resources and training to advocates and professionals across the state. This grant will provide more than $50 million per year for two years, for a total of more than $100 million.
DCF Interim Secretary Rebecca Kapusta said, “The department remains committed to helping people who are living with an opioid use disorder, supporting their families, and equipping the treatment industry with the right tools for the most effective treatment. The grant will continue to facilitate the expansion of services and treatment options throughout Florida’s communities to get people the help they need.”
DCF anticipates more than 5,000 new individuals could receive medication-assisted treatment and associated recovery support this year with this funding. It will also allow local substance abuse treatment providers to distribute free, take-home naloxone kits directly to individuals at risk of experiencing an opioid overdose, and their families.
Additionally, state opioid response grant funding will add 18 new behavioral health consultants in DCF regional offices to provide clinical expertise and direct assistance with the identification of parents with opioid use disorders in the child welfare system.