$58.8 Million in Federal Funding Awarded to CDC to Help Combat Opioid Addiction

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More efforts are being made to fight the huge problem of opioid addiction.

Casey DeSantis, the wife of Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, came to Memorial Regional Hospital and announced an intensive acceleration in the fight against opioid addiction in Florida, including $58.8 million in new federal grant funding to enhance the tracking of and response to opioid abuse and the creation of a Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome Statewide Prevention Coordinator position to enhance resources and services for pregnant women with opioid addiction.

A three-year Overdose Data to Action grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will provide $58.8 million of new funding into prevention and treatment initiatives led by the Florida Department of Health (DOH) in partnership with the Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF) and local stakeholders. The grant was awarded to DOH and the county health departments in Broward, Duval and Palm Beach counties.

As part of her Hope for Healing Florida initiative, DeSantis made the announcement after touring Memorial Regional Hospital and Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit and holding a listening session with healthcare leaders.

“Florida has made a lot of progress in addressing the crisis of opioid abuse,” DeSantis said. “That is because our Governor has made it a priority and because so many dedicated health and substance abuse professionals are committed to finding meaningful ways to help those fighting the tragic consequences of this deadly drug. Today we are forging new paths to use all that research and data to improve coordination and delivery of services to make a real difference in people’s lives, to save lives.”

The Hope for Healing Florida initiative is a multi-agency mental health and substance abuse campaign to coordinate the combined efforts and resources of DCF, DOH, the Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA), the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice and the Florida Department of Education to better serve the needs of Floridians struggling with mental health and substance abuse.

DeSantis also announced DOH’s new Neonatal Abstinence Coordinator position to provide support to local health departments, link field-based activities with the goals of Florida’s Opioid Use Disorder, Maternal Outcomes, Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome Initiative, and identify policy changes needed to combat Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome.

The new position will build partnerships among health professionals and public health and social service providers to promote coordination and continuity of care for pregnant and postpartum women with opioid use disorder and infants prenatally exposed to opioids.

“For years, Memorial Healthcare System has supported programs that address substance abuse and behavioral health issues in this community. We have been fortunate to participate in the programs that have positively impacted patients who struggle with addiction and need another chance at life,” said Aurelio Fernandez, III, president and CEO of Memorial Healthcare System.

“Every child deserves a healthy future, and Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital is fortunate to be in the position to provide the most complex, high-risk care to babies in our region. We are grateful to have the support of First Lady Casey DeSantis to be able to provide programs necessary to minimize the impact of substance abuse and mental health on children in our community,” said Caitlin Beck Stella, chief executive officer of Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital.

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