With former Surgeon General Dr. Celeste Philip stepping down from the position and leaving with Governor Rick Scott, Governor DeSantis has now provided his nomination for the new Surgeon General that will be replacing Dr. Philip.
Governor DeSantis announced that Dr. Scott Rivkees, a pediatric endocrinologist and the physician-in-chief at the University of Florida Health Shands Hospital in Gainesville, has been nominated to take on the role as the sunshine state’s top medical officer.
The Governor also unveiled the beginning of a new opioid crisis program and spoke about the re-creation of the Office of Drug Control in addition to a new task force that will be led by Attorney General Ashley Moody.
He made the announcement of the important projects at the Sanford Public Safety Complex in the company of Lt. Gov. Jeanette Nuñez, Attorney General Ashley Moody, Dr. Rivkees, Florida Department of Children and Families Secretary Chad Poppell and others.
The Governor vowed to tackle the opioid epidemic, citing that 17 Floridians die a day due to overdoses.
He explained that re-establishing the Office of Drug Control and integrating the task force with Attorney General Moody will effectively help in tackling the crisis because they’ll be working “with one clear vision.”
Governor DeSantis also explained that “substance abuse is a serious public health and safety concern and the opioid epidemic has devastated families and communities throughout our state, and requires serious comprehensive action.”
During Governor Rick Scott’s term, Scott actively worked to tackle the growing opioid crisis, and DeSantis informed that his administration had secured $26 million in federal funding to be able to properly respond to the crisis. This funding will be added to the $50 million the sunshine state has already appropriated for the concern in the 2019 budget.
Rivkees also spoke about his own concerns on the matter, discussing suicides and opioid overdose deaths and commenting that “we need to act.”