The opioid addiction crisis seems to be coming to a head. In the wake of an increase in opioid overdoses—most caused by super-potent opioids like fentanyl or carfentanil—multiple states have taken action to prevent more unnecessary deaths.

In May, Florida Governor Rick Scott declared the epidemic a “public health emergency.” The declaration grants the state over $54 million by the United States Department of Health and Human Services for prevention, treatment, and recovery services. Recently, Ohio sued five Big Pharma companies that make opioid painkillers, citing their role in the state’s opioid dependence epidemic.

Florida Stands Tough

In addition to the state of emergency, two legislative bills have been proposed to combat the problem. One bill takes aim at fentanyl traffickers while the other prevents sober homes from making false advertising statements. As of June 14, Governor Scott signed the trafficking bill into law. Under the new law, drug dealers can be charged with murder if someone overdoses while using fentanyl, and, a dealer caught with four or more grams of fentanyl or other similar drugs faces at least three years in jail. (Possessing 14 or more grams of fentanyl will lead to at least 15 years while 28 or more grams would require a minimum 25-year prison sentence.) The sober home bill has passed both bodies of the Florida Legislature and awaits approval by Governor Scott.

Ohio Goes On The Offensive

On May 31, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine brought suit against five makers of opioid painkillers. The suit says that the pharma companies broke more than one state law, including the Ohio Corrupt Practices Act, and committed Medicaid fraud. The five companies named are Purdue Pharma, Johnson & Johnson, Teva Pharmaceuticals, Endo Health Solutions, and Allergan. Mississippi was the first state to file a similar suit.

What’s Behind The Increase In Overdoses?

CDC has been calling opioid addiction an epidemic since February 2011. Now, however, with the rise of super-potent opioids like fentanyl and carfentanil, overdoses have increased. Fentanyl and its analogs may be hundreds of times more potent than street heroin, causing deeper respiratory depression. It is sometimes sold as heroin, leading users to overdose unintentionally.

Last year in Florida, Palm Beach County alone saw 525 fatal opioid overdoses. Heroin mixed with fentanyl or carfentanil was associated with 220 deaths in Miami-Dade County last year, and 90 percent of the fatal drug overdoses in Broward County involved heroin, fentanyl, or other opioids. In the first two months of 2017, Columbus, Ohio, was averaging one overdose per day—most deaths were caused by heroin cut with fentanyl.

How Cornerstone Can Help

Cornerstone Recovery Center’s approach to recovery takes every aspect of your life into consideration to form a plan of treatment that is just for you. If you or a loved one needs help for heroin or opioid addiction, please contact our admissions counselor online or call 1-888-711-0354. All communications with our staff are confidential.