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First Lady Casey DeSantis discusses expansion of state program aimed at curbing drug overdoses

The first lady says the state will be rolling out school assemblies as part of its "The Facts. Your Future." campaign.

LARGO, Fla. — First Lady Casey DeSantis made a stop in Largo on Thursday to discuss the expansion of a program that aims to curb drug overdoses by educating kids at school.

During a roundtable at the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office, the first lady said the Florida Department of Health and Department of Education had worked together to expand on the state's "The Facts. Your Future." campaign by creating assemblies for students.

Those assemblies would include testimony from recovering addicts, health professionals and law enforcement.

"Putting all those groups together to get the context to get [students] the context and perspective is really important," DeSantis said.

According to data from the Pinellas County Opioid Task Force, more than one person in the county dies every 26 hours from an opioid-related overdose.

In a report from the Florida Department of Health, overdose deaths were up nearly 50 percent in 2020 since the same time in 2019. There were more than 3,600 deaths from March to August 2020. That is about 19 people overdosing and dying in Florida every day.  

A 2019 annual drug report revealed the drugs causing the most deaths were fentanyl, cocaine, and benzodiazepines. Deaths caused by fentanyl in 2019 increased by 38 percent compared to 2018.