PENSACOLA, Fla. (WKRG) — Escambia County leads the state of Florida in the number of people dying from opioid overdose.
Escambia County is one of nine counties getting funding from the state for an overdose assistance program. This will provide addiction therapy services as they try to bring the numbers down.
EMS Chief Dave Torsell is sounding the alarm on the opioid crisis.
“As a parent, it’s very concerning to see what I’m seeing here,” said Torsell. “In my 26-year career, I have not seen as much death from overdose as I have in such a short amount of time as I’ve been in Escambia County.”
Torsell recently told the school board about it. Escambia County has seen more overdose deaths this year than any other county in Florida.
“We are number one,” said Torsell. “We get the trophy nobody else wants. We are the ones recognized for what we don’t want to be recognized for.”
Last year, there were 1,085 overdoses and halfway through this year, there are 1,134 overdoses, according to EMS. The county has not released how many of those lives were saved but they administered Narcan almost 1,000 times. Torsell said they’re on track to double last year’s overdose number.
“It’s heartbreaking,” said Commissioner Jeff Bergosh. “To me, it’s a heartbreaking situation.”
The county commission discussed the alarming numbers this week and ways to be proactive in fighting addiction instead of being reactive.
“We don’t have a whole lot of detox facilities so whatever we can do to help with that,” said Bergosh. “We’ve got to attack it from every angle.”
County officials say most of the people overdosing are between about 30 and 45 years old. The drug most often used in deadly cases is Fentanyl.