By: Jake Stofan | Capitol News Service
August 29, 2017
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) -- Governor Rick Scott has quietly extended his executive order declaring an opioid crisis.
Scott extended the order for 60 days on Monday after Gubernatorial candidate and State Senator Jack Latvala called for the extension.
As part of the extension, Latvala also asked Scott for $20 million in state emergency funds for detox, residential treatment and outpatient care.
"The $20 million certainly could take some of the stress off as people try locally to put together and implement their plans for addressing the crisis in their respective communities," said Mark Fantaine of the Florida Behavioral Health Association.
The federal funds can go towards counseling or other wrap around services for those addicted to opioids, but important services like Central Receiving Facilities came up short.
Many had to lay off employees and reduce their capacity.
“The central receiving systems are integral to the local communities," explained Melanie Brown-Woofter of the Florida Council for Community Mental Health. "They help to serve to the no-wrong-door approaches that anyone who is in crisis or who needs mental healthcare or substance use services can approach that facility. ”
When asked whether Governor Scott was considering accessing state emergency funds, his press team instead told us the Governor plans include additional funds for the crisis in his 2018 Legislative package.
Latvala predicts 2,700 Floridians will die from opioids by the time a new budget passes in March.
Although mental health advocates commend the Governor for his continued support to fighting the battle, they say there’s no doubt the emergency funds would help reduce deaths between now and the end of session.