Governor DeSantis’ Innovative Approach to Opioid Recovery is Saving Lives and Curbing Addiction in Florida

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Today, Governor DeSantis and First Lady Casey DeSantis celebrate one year of helping Floridians break the cycle of addiction through the Coordinated Opioid Recovery Network (CORE). As the first comprehensive solution to addiction care in the nation, this program disrupts the revolving door of addiction and overdose by providing patients with the tools to choose sustainable recovery.


“The Florida CORE Network is pioneering the future of recovery in America,” said Governor Ron DeSantis. “While Biden’s Border Crisis exacerbates the deadly influx of fentanyl and leftist states stock vending machines with drug paraphernalia, Florida refuses to sit idly by as these deadly drugs ruin and  take lives. In one year, we’ve saved more lives than any other state by providing essential addiction treatment to those who need it most.”


In 2022, Governor DeSantis and First Lady DeSantis launched the CORE Network, taking an aggressive approach to the opioid and fentanyl crises. Since President Biden took office, more than 21 tons of fentanyl have crossed the southern border, enough to kill 9.7 billion people. From 2021 to 2022, federal progress was abysmal, with vital statistics data showing no change nationally in total drug-related deaths. The same year, drug-related deaths in Florida decreased over 4% from 2021, saving over 300 lives from the dangers of overdose and addiction by focusing on treating rather than enabling or exacerbating the disease. This is the highest decrease in drug-related deaths of any other state.


Many traditional addiction treatments focus on one pillar of care, but CORE encompasses a holistic approach, treating addiction as a disease. This comprehensive approach expands every aspect of overdose response and treats all primary and secondary impacts of substance use disorder, including coexisting medical and mental health conditions. This model, originally piloted in Palm Beach County, reduced overdose rates to 0% among patients after two years of care.


Within just the inaugural year, the initial 12 CORE Network counties have saved countless lives:

  • Typical overdose response only focuses on stabilizing the patient, fueling the cycle of addiction. Within CORE counties, emergency medical providers connected 25,000 overdose patients to long-term recovery.


  • Providing nearly 550,000 services that support the patient’s overall sustainable long-term recovery, including disease treatment, dental care, primary care, psychiatric evaluation, and maternal care.


  • Evidence shows Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) reduces the risk of fatal overdose by over 50% and supports long-term sobriety.


  • MAT involves a treatment plan that uses a combination of medication and behavioral therapies. MAT medications work by binding with the same receptors in the brain that opioids do, reducing withdrawals and cravings without producing the euphoria that the original substance did. This allows the patient to receive the benefits of behavioral strategies and address underlying issues.


“Since its inception last August, CORE has helped to facilitate connections with key stakeholders and health care networks across our state to combat overdose and addiction and connect individuals suffering from substance use disorder with life-saving care,” said Department of Child and Families Secretary Shevaun Harris. “The work that the CORE program has done in its first year is unprecedented, and the Department is so proud to work alongside the Department of Health and other partners in continuing the fight to end the opioid epidemic.”


“I am very proud of how our state leadership and CORE Network partners have worked together to advance this nation-leading life-saving recovery program,” said State Surgeon General Dr. Joseph Ladapo. “With long-term support and recovery as the goal, Florida has assembled a team of experts to effectively approach how we address this complex problem in public health.”


“CORE brings new hope and medical evidence-based treatment to patients suffering from this chronic and life-threatening disease,” said Florida Deputy Secretary for Health Dr. Kenneth Scheppke. “By coordinating the efforts of emergency medical services, hospital emergency departments, and life-long specialty addiction medicine clinics, patients are supported to achieve long-term healthy lives.”


If you or a loved one need help:

The Coordinated Opioid Recovery (CORE) Network is the first of its kind in the U.S. and aims to eliminate the stigma of addiction and treat substance use disorder as a disease, with the same level of continuous care. Floridians battling with addiction can utilize CORE for stabilization and to receive medication-assisted treatment from a network of specialized medical experts that will help guide them on a sustained pathway to healthy success.

To find help and resources, please visit the CORE Network website by clicking here.

public health and safety alert was also deployed by the Florida Department of Health on July 8, 2022, to ensure Floridians remain vigilant of the signs of overdose. This alert can be found here. Poster materials can be found here.


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