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Opioid deaths surge in Sarasota and Manatee counties

By The Numbers

SARASOTA, Fla (WFLA) – Congressman Vern Buchanan is hoping to receive additional funding for drug treatment and prevention as fatal opioid overdoses more than double in Sarasota County.

So far this year, the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office has responded to 29 opioid fatalities. That’s more than double the 13 that were recorded in all of 2019.

Nonfatal overdoses in the county also spiked more than 37 percent, going from 88 overdoses to 121.

Non-fatal overdoses have also increased in Manatee County in the first six months of 2019 from 258 to 388 so far this year.

Nationally, drug overdoses increased 18 percent in March, 29 percent in April and 42 percent in May, according to the Overdose Detection Mapping Application Program, a federal initiative that collects data from first responders and hospitals.

The White House’s drug policy office has pointed to the pandemic and the economic uncertainties along with it for worsened feelings of anxiety, social isolation and depression, which could exacerbate drug use in addicts.

“The spike in drug overdoses in our region during the coronavirus pandemic is tragic and alarming,” Buchanan said. “We have to get treatment to those in need both in Southwest Florida and across the country. As we continue to combat the coronavirus we need to make sure we are addressing other health impacts exacerbated by this pandemic.”

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