Mental Health & Addiction
F.A.I.T.H. heard many stories about the devastation substance abuse has caused within Volusia County families. At the 2016 Community Problems Assembly, FAITH members voted to address Mental Health & Addiction in 2017.
In their research, FAITH's Mental Health & Addiction Committee found that instances of opioid overdose are rapidly increasing in Volusia County. For instance, in 2014, 59 lives in Volusia County were lost as a direct result of opioid overdose. By the end of 2015, that number nearly doubled, reaching 105. Volusia County’s drug overdose rate is now 25% higher than the state of Florida. Specifically heroin-caused death had more than quadrupled between 2014-2015. According to experts, the problem is only getting worse.
During our research we learned of a drug called NARCAN; a nasal spray that when administered, rapidly reduces the effects of opioids, often saving the life of an overdose victim instantly. Because many times our law enforcement agencies arrive at emergencies before paramedics, there is a distinct need for officers to carry NARCAN. Around the country, over 900 police and sheriff departments have adopted a policy of equipping and training each officer on patrol with NARCAN. Law Enforcement agencies in Orange County, FL adopted this policy last summer and as a result, 12 lives have already been saved!
At our 2017 Action Assembly, FAITH won the commitment of the Volusia County Sheriff's Department to equip their officers with NARCAN for the next five years. FAITH also won the commitment from the Daytona Beach Police Department to work with the local drug treatment center to identify funding sources so that they can begin equipping officers with NARCAN.