A Jacksonville Fire Rescue unit.A Jacksonville Fire Rescue unit.
A Jacksonville Fire Rescue unit l Dan Scanlan, WJCT News 89.9

Feds help Duval fight rash of opioid deaths

Published on September 8, 2023 at 1:19 pm

A new federal grant will help Duval County combat a rash of opioid-related deaths — the fifth-highest in the state.

Duval County averaged 59.8 overdose deaths per 100,000 people in 2021, according to the most recent figures available from the Florida Department of Health. Only four counties — Highlands, Volusia, Escambia and Pinellas — had a higher ratio of deaths.

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Duval far surpassed the statewide average of 38.5 deaths per 100,000 people.

Putnam County ranked 18th of Florida’s 67 counties with 42.9 deaths per 100,000. Clay County was 29th (37.9), Baker County 35th (33.7), Nassau County 46th (24.7) and St. Johns County 55th (16.3).

The national Centers for Disease Control’s Overdose Data to Action program has awarded a $2.55 million grant to the Duval office of the state Health Department to respond more quickly and effectively to the problem.

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“We are proud to share this mission and effort to prevent overdoses and protect the well-being of our Northeast Florida community,” Duval Health Officer Antonio Nichols said. “This grant will make a lasting impact and provide hope to those affected by substance use disorders.”

The CDC program began in 2019 and funds initiatives in 66 jurisdictions across the United States including the Florida Department of Health and the health departments in Broward and Palm Beach counties.

There are ways for the community to get involved to help reverse the trend of overdose deaths, health officials say. The Duval department offers Narcan, which is a drug that can reverse the deadly effects of an opioid overdose, for free at 12 locations across the city: 

  • Center for Women and Children, 515 West 6th St.
  • Children’s Dental Center at North Point, 3416 Moncrief Road.
  • Comprehensive Care Center, 515 West 6th St.
  • Emerald Tiger WIC & Nutrition Services, 3225 University Boulevard South.
  • Environmental Health, 921 N. Davis Street Building B, Suite 350.
  • Pharmacy Center, 515 West 6th St.
  • Refugee Health, 515 West 6th St.
  • South Jacksonville Family Health Center, 3225 University Boulevard South.
  • South Jacksonville Immunization Center, 3225 University Boulevard South.
  • Tuberculosis Clinical Services, 515 West 6th St.
  • Wesconnett WIC & Nutrition Services, 5917 105th St.
  • Westside Children’s Dental Center, 120 King St.

The Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department also provides overdose reversal training you can schedule for your workplace, school or community group. Call 904-255-7730 for more information.

author image Reporter, WJCT News 89.9 email Steven Ponson has six years of experience covering news in Jacksonville and Northeast Florida. Prior to arriving on the First Coast, Steven also worked in radio in Orlando. He attended the University of Central Florida where he earned a degree in radio and television. Steven has been a reporter, producer, anchor and board operator. Outside of work, Steven loves to watch sports, cook delicious cajun food (as any good Louisiana native does) and spend time outdoors.

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