Casey DeSantis, Florida’s first lady, announced Wednesday additional federal funding of $58.8 million to combat the state’s opiate epidemic, especially for pregnant women.
In a statement issued by the office of state governor Ron DeSantis, it was announced that the funds will be used to create the position of State Prevention Coordinator for Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome, which will increase “resources and services for pregnant women addicted to opioids”.
The funds were given to local authorities in Broward, Duval and Palm Beach counties and to the Florida Department of Health (DOH), which along with the Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF), is leading efforts to combat this epidemic.
Casey DeSantis’ announcement follows a visit to Memorial Regional Hospital and the neonatal intensive care unit at Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital.
The first lady leads the “Hope for Healing Florida” initiative, which brings together the efforts and resources of multiple mental health and substance abuse agencies.
According to last year’s data provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 200 people die every day in the United States from opiate overdose.
This addiction affects 4 million people in the country, where authorities are trying to stop a bloodletting that is sometimes caused by prescriptions.
The alarm over this situation led U.S. President Donald Trump to declare the opiate crisis as a national public health emergency in 2017 and to earmark a $1 billion fund to address it.