April 25, 2018 – The Florida Alcohol and Drug Abuse Association (FADAA) today announced it has received $1 million in funding from the Aetna Foundation to support two new programs aimed at fighting the opioid epidemic in the state. The announcement occurred during a Capitol Hill briefing in Washington, D.C.which included honorary co-hosts, Sen. Bill Nelson, Rep. Gus Bilirakis and Rep. Stephanie Murphy who also provided opening remarks.
Funding will enhance and expand two of FADAA’s initiatives that address opioid abuse through strengthening community support and connecting patients with services aimed at treatment and recovery:
- All in for Florida: The ER Intervention Project – This program aims to strengthen connections between hospital systems and community-based behavioral health programs, specifically focused on supporting people who end up in Emergency Departments due to an opioid overdose. Conducted in collaboration with the Florida Hospital Association and the Florida College of Emergency Physicians, the effort is intended to provide opioid abusers with access to treatment services at a time when there is the greatest opportunity to intervene and address the addiction.
- All in for Florida: A Recovery Project – This program will help transition informal networks of recovery groups across Florida into accredited Recovery Community Organizations. Working with the Peer Support Coalition of Florida Initiative, FADAA will build stronger connections between a wide range of related services for individuals recovering from addiction, such as behavioral health and addiction treatment providers; employment and housing support services; community recovery leaders and community-based organizations, including volunteer groups; and select state agencies.
This support comes at a critical time for Florida residents. As one of the hardest-hit states during this opioid crisis, Florida experiences one overdose death every 2.5 hours.
“Emergency room visits present a critical moment for intervening in an opioid overdose. With closely integrated resources we can help prevent addicts from slipping back through the cracks,” said Mark Fontaine, executive director of FADAA. “These grants will help us create a bridge from Emergency Rooms to treatment facilities for those experiencing an overdose and provide comprehensive services for this vulnerable population.”
The $1 million grant is part of a larger, $6 million commitment by the Aetna Foundation to combat the opioid epidemic across the U.S. The Foundation will be announcing grants to other organizations in additional states over the next several months as part of its mission of Building Healthy Communities. Through this work, the Foundation hopes to empower organizations and government agencies in the states most impacted by opioid abuse.
“Every community impacted by the opioid epidemic faces a unique struggle,” said Garth Graham, M.D., M.P.H., president of the Aetna Foundation and vice president of Community Health for Aetna. “From the need of integrate services, to data collection and grassroots support, we’re seeing local organizations create new solutions to tackle the crisis. It’s our hope that our support will give them the boost they need to turn the tide in their communities.”
Florida Governor Rick Scott declared the state’s opioid epidemic a public health emergency in May 2017. Nearly 12 percent of fatal opioid overdoses in the U.S. in 2015 came from Florida, according to the most recent statistics from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.
“The opioid epidemic is sweeping through our nation, destroying many families and communities along the way, and we must form a united front to stop it,” said Rep. Murphy. “I’m pleased to see the public and private sectors working together to increase access to quality health care for those affected and ensure that our communities are provided with the resources needed to combat this epidemic. The opioid crisis is one that weighs heavily on our collective conscience and I’ll continue working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to deliver solutions.”
“The link between crisis care and follow-up treatment is critical to a patient’s long-term recovery. Similarly, I have heard amazing testimonials about the power of peer support programs. Strengthening these efforts through improved coordination will undoubtedly improve patient outcomes. Both of these initiatives will be vital as Florida seeks to combat addiction through a multi-tiered, patient-centered approach,” said Honorary Co-host Congressman Gus Bilirakis.