Starting today I will be informing people of the huge amount of data that was just released by an organization called “Project Opioid.” Project Opioid is a research and policy organization meant to fight the ongoing opioid epidemic in the United States and Florida. The group works out of Orlando and the central Florida area, with much of their research capacity seeming to come from the University of Central Florida. Last year, they made an announcement that they would be releasing their own research on Opioid use in October of this year, and despite the Covid-19 pandemic and all the problems caused by it, their research was released this month and there are many facets of it that I want to talk about. They did research on the national issues that I have talked a lot about. Many of you will know that I often write for the best drug rehabs in Florida, and the group has research specifically concentrated on the Florida Opioid problem, which I have written quite a bit about. Some of the numbers they reported I was familiar with, and some of the data seems to be brand new based on what I have seen over the course of this year. They also had a few events where people including major business leaders and the governor, and the first lady of Florida were keynote speakers. I hope that this bodes well for the people struggling with opioid addiction in Florida and around the country. Many of the people close to the organization are prominent Republican politicians in the State of Florida and elsewhere, and changes in an opinion by some of those prominent people could really help solve these difficult issues.
This will be at least a 3 part series on Project Opioid, so I will begin with some of their national opioid use data. This is by far the most complete set of statistics for current opiate use that I have seen, and even if some of the research was gathered by others, it is impressive to have it all in one place. They report that opiate overdoses were up 5.6% in 2019, after being down in 2018. That is correct based on my previous reporting on these same numbers. There were over 71,000 overdoses in 2019, and I had not seen an exact number on that issue before now, and it is certainly a scary number. I would like to see all overdoses that reach the hospital receive an initial opportunity to enter some sort of treatment program in whatever state they live in, a program that has already been successfully implemented in Jacksonville, Florida by Project Save Lives Jacksonville. The number of people reporting heroin or Fentanyl use has doubled quarter over quarter recently, and the number of people reporting prescription opiate use has gone up by 25% in the same time period. Heroin overdoses seem to peak between the ages of 20 to 30, and they go down in likelihood the farther someone gets from the age of 25. The US is losing almost 80 billion dollars a year on opiate use disorder, including the major losses from trying to deal with the problem in the criminal justice system. I will be bringing my readers much more important information from this research, and as always, if you or a loved one needs help with substance use disorder near the Florida Panhandle area, the best drug rehab in Florida is in Panama City, Florida and you can get more information on the programs page on this website.
By T.A. Cannon (Contact me at TACannonWriting@gmail.com)