Heroin crisis: Martin County asks governor to declare health emergency

The Martin County Commission is the latest Florida government to ask Gov. Rick Scott to declare a public health emergency to help communities deal with the opioid epidemic.

“The opioid epidemic we are experiencing across our state does not discriminate,’’ Commission Chairman Doug Smith said Friday in a letter to Scott.

“Recognizing and elevating this issue could provide additional resources and support we need to combat this deadly crisis and save the lives of hundreds of Floridians.’’

Smith’s letter arrived on Scott’s desk about a month after a similar letter by Palm Beach County Commissioner Melissa McKinlay.

Scott has not responded to McKinlay’s letter or to requests made state senate Democrats last month.

According to Smith’s letter, 341 people died of drug-related overdoses in the Treasure Coast region, just north of Palm Beach County, made up of Martin, St. Lucie and Indian River counties.

“Those numbers increased 10 percent last year,’’ Smith said, adding that 88 people died in Martin County of overdoses in 2016.

“Since 2011, the Treasure Coast has lost 2,037 lives, with a loss to Martin County of 500 of our citizens due to drug overdoses.’’

Martin County Fire Rescue spent $8,160 on 272 doses of Naloxone in 2015, compared to $2,200 for 76 does in 2013, Smith said.

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