Miami, Florida—The War on Drugs continues. The Project Opioid Florida non-profit held a media event at the Wolfson Campus of Miami-Dade College, where CEO Andrae Bailey announced his group’s very sobering findings about the ongoing opioid and Fentanyl epidemic that has gripped the United States.
The epidemic has led to the deaths of tens of thousands of people over the past several years.
Project Opioid released their findings of a recent investigation and data-collecting initiative,
According to the group, in 2022 alone, 110,000 individuals died of “opioid-related overdoses” fueled primarily by Fentanyl.
Bailey called Fentanyl, “The weapon of mass destruction that is killing our children,” and “the most dangerous drug in history.”
Two-thirds of all drug overdoses are attributed to Fentanyl, the leading cause of death for individuals between the ages of 18 and 41.
An even more sobering data point is the fatal overdose percentage of children 14-18 years old.
According to the report, overdoses in this age group skyrocketed to 94% in 202o.
But while overdoses in 2022 dropped to 2.6% in Florida, they rose in Miami-Dade County to 3.3%.
Bailey, who held up a small bag of a white powdered substance (not Fentanyl) to show how that small amount of the drug could kill Miami-Dade College's 125,000-strong student body, stated that Fentanyl is 50 times more addicting than Heroin and that the potency of the drug is increasing because the “precursor chemicals” are being manipulated to make Fentanyl “stronger and more addictive.”
Miami Dade College President Madeline Pumariega said that the college was “a changemaker institution” that is focused on helping students throughout their college experience and beyond.
“Our mission and purpose are not simply to prepare a student for a job, but how do we prepare the students, our students for the world and this is the world we're living,” said Pumariega, adding that she and her administration are also focused on “what is the greatest threat to the well-being of our students and to our community.”
One of Project Opioid’s growing list of sponsors is Aetna Better Health, which has taken a special interest in the group illicit drug epidemic.
Aetna’s CEO Jennifer Sweet said in a statement that the healthcare giant was proud to back Project Opioid’s effort to disseminate the life-saving “naloxone” overdose drug.
“We are proud to support Project Opioid today in its launch of a new effort to distribute life-saving nasal inhalers called “naloxone” to community-based organizations fighting against the threat of illegal drugs.
The program will distribute each month into Florida communities thousands of doses of this life-saving medication that rapidly reverses a fentanyl overdose.
Our partnership with Project Opioid is critically important to Aetna Better Health, our members, and to the health of our communities.
We believe Project Opioid’s program to teach and train organizations about use of naloxone inhalers will save lives by preparing and arming them to respond to the deadly threat of fentanyl and illegal drugs,” stated Sweet.
“The Florida CORE Network is pioneering the future of recovery in America,” said Governor Ron DeSantis. “While Biden’s Border Crisis exacerbates the deadly influx of fentanyl and leftist states stock vending machines with drug paraphernalia, Florida refuses to sit idly by as these deadly drugs ruin and take lives. In one year, we’ve saved more lives than any other state by providing essential addiction treatment to those who need it most.”
The opioid crisis is also being addressed at the federal level.
In a recent interview with The Floridian, Representative Laurel Lee (R-FL) discussed her OPIOIDS Act, designed to improve law enforcement's ability to track overdoses and protect officers from accidental exposure.
"This bill would allocate additional resources to help law enforcement track the incidence of fentanyl overdoses and also help prevent and protect law enforcement officers from accidental exposure to fentanyl," said Rep. Lee.