DeSantis announces new substance addiction program

Published: August 3, 2022 5:04 PM EDT

Governor Ron DeSantis spoke on Wednesday about a new state-operated program for treating substance use disorder.

The program will be the first of its kind in the United States, according to Governor DeSantis.

When Mitchell Watson hears the word addiction he thinks back to 2008 when his addiction to opioids began. “It was a 10-year battle,” Watson said. “You know, ultimately, after that roller coaster ride of 10 years, on my fourth trip to detox, it finally took when I went to a homeless shelter and was accepted into a 28-day program at David Lawrence in Naples.”

Watson flatly said to WINK News, that the David Lawrence Center saved his life. But, Governor DeSantis and Watson know others are not as lucky.

Governor DeSantis said at a press conference on Wednesday, that fentanyl is killing Floridians at an alarming rate. The Governor asked the Florida state Department of Children and Families to develop a program to break the cycle of addiction.

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Governor Ron DeSantis at the press conference announcing the CORE Program. (CREDIT: WKNG)

“The first of its kind model of care for substance use disorder, coordinated opioid recovery, a network of addiction care, and we’re calling it the Core Network,” Governor DeSantis said.

Joseph Ladapo, the Florida Surgeon General shared some thoughts about if he thinks the program will be effective.

“The program is going to work. It is simple, powerful, effective,” Ladapo said. “It connects people to what they need, in terms of what we know helps them get out of the cycle of all of the terrible horrific things that come along with addiction.”

One way this program will help those battling addiction is for first responders to connect them with long-term treatment. Deputy Health Secretary, Ken Scheppke, explained connecting first responders to those fighting addiction is a crucial part of the program.

“This is a lifelong disease, there’ll be placed into a long-term care facility with all the multiple specialties that you need for this complex disease,” Scheppke said.

The Governor said the state tested the system in Palm Beach County and will now expand into 12 more counties. Although, the expansion doesn’t include any of the counties in Southwest Florida.

WINK News reached out to the Governor’s office to find out when Southwest Florida might see the program here, but we haven’t heard back yet.