Memorial Healthcare System Awarded Significant Legislative Funding to Battle Fentanyl Crisis and Expand Mental Health Services

October 25, 2023

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Amid the Fentanyl crisis in the U.S., the South Broward Hospital District Board of Commissioners received two checks for state appropriations projects approved during Florida’s 2023 Legislative Session that will help Memorial Healthcare System and Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital. The number of adolescents deaths from Fentanyl overdoses in the country doubled this year, reaching over 100 percent, making funds like this crucial to navigating the escalating issue.

State Senator Lauren Book, District 35 (Dem.) and Nikita Mizgirez, represented State Representative Tom Fabricio’s office, District 110 (Rep.) and together successfully sponsored a $1,000,000.00 appropriation for Medication Assisted Treatment for Zero Overdoses (MAT Zero-OD). This funding will help provide a comprehensive, multidisciplinary approach to treating opioid and substance abuse while decreasing emergency department visits and inpatient medical stays. It also provides funding to treat at-risk individuals for substance abuse by providing outreach, screenings, and treatment.

The Board of Commissioners also received a check presentation from State Representative Alex Rizo, District 112 (Rep.) and Judith Ruiz representing State Senator Bryan Avila’s office, District 39 (Rep.) who successfully sponsored a $500,000.00 appropriation request for Joe DiMaggio Children's Hospital – New Solutions for Behavioral Health for at-risk youth. This will fund new solutions for Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital to incorporate Recovery-Oriented System of Care values and a family-centered approach to achieve improved mental health and reduce substance use in youth through Emergency Department based screening for mental health disorders and same-day admission to an Intensive Outpatient Model.

We sadly crossed the 100,000 death mark this year with cases linked to drug use and it’s affecting adults as well as adolescents.

Elizabeth Justen, Board Chair, Memorial Healthcare System

“Our country has been dealing with a serious opioid epidemic for over a decade,” said Board Chair, Elizabeth Justen. “We sadly crossed the 100K death mark this year with cases linked to drug use and it’s affecting adults as well as adolescents. We are thankful to our legislative partners for their support in our mission to heal the body, mind and spirit of those we touch. We strive to be a premier clinically integrated delivery system providing access to exceptional patient and family centered care, medical education, research, and innovation for the benefit of the community we serve.”

Fentanyl is 100 times stronger than morphine and most other opiates and is frequently purchased through the black market, the internet and even through social media. In addition to funding dollars, it is crucial to talk to children about the dangers of Fentanyl and the gravity of the consequences from using it. Memorial Healthcare System and Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital provide resources to help families dealing with addiction.

For more information and resources watch the Facebook Live: 'One Pill Can Kill' Town Hall.