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Florida governor signs executive order to combat opioid abuse

Gov. Ron DeSantis calls the opioid epidemic a 'critical public health issue.'
Credit: AP
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has signed Executive Order 19-97, establishing the Office of Drug Control and the Statewide Task Force on Opioid Abuse.

The action is part of the governor's plan to combat Florida's opioid epidemic. According to a state health report, there were more than 3,684 recorded prescription drug-related overdose deaths in 2017.

DeSantis' executive order calls the substance abuse and opioid epidemic a "critical public health issue that requires immediate attention" and says the statewide number of opioid-related overdose deaths continues to rise.

Related: FDA approves opioid painkiller 1,000 times stronger than morphine

The order says the Office of Drug Control will operate within the executive branch and provide more opportunities to coordinate between federal, state and local agencies in preventing substance abuse. 

The new task force on opioid abuse will research and assess opioid abuse in Florida. It will be expected to develop a better strategy for dealing with the problem.

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