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Thursday, November 17, 2022

DOH, DCF leaders visit Marion County’s Coordinated Opioid Recovery (CORE) Network

In Marion County, Emergency Medical Services teams responded to over 3,000 overdose calls in 2021, and current data indicates that Marion is among the top 10 counties in Florida with the highest fatal overdose rates.

On Thursday, October 13, the expansion of the Coordinated Opioid Recovery (CORE) in Marion County – a comprehensive network of addiction and opioid treatment – was visited by Dr. Joseph Ladapo (State Surgeon General), Dr. Kenneth Scheppke (Deputy Secretary for Health), and Shevaun Harris (Florida Department of Children and Families Secretary), alongside community partners.

The full-scale treatment approach of the CORE Network expands every aspect of overdose response and creates an all-inclusive sustained system of care and patient navigation, according to the Florida Department of Health in Marion County (DOH-Marion). As a result, CORE helps to holistically address all primary and secondary impacts of substance use disorder.

“The existing standard of care for substance use disorder is outdated. The current overdose response in most of the United States treats the acute overdose, without providing access to sustainable care,” said Dr. Kenneth Scheppke, Deputy Secretary for Health.

Dr. Scheppke continued by stating, “That’s exactly why we’ve developed CORE. This program facilitates the necessary connections among local emergency response and specialty health care networks to not only respond to an acute overdose, but to connect individuals suffering from substance use disorder to sustainable and long-term care.”

In the aftermath of Hurricane Ian, DOH-Marion is concerned that substance use and overdose deaths could increase due to the impact on individuals’ mental health and the disruption of normal pharmaceutical supply chains. DOH-Marion states that it is critical that community partners provide resources to their communities as the state recovers from the effects of Hurricane Ian’s devastation.

“We are grateful for the leadership of Governor DeSantis in championing the development of the CORE Network – a comprehensive model of care in addressing the opioid epidemic,” said Department of Children and Families Secretary Shevaun Harris.

“We must break down the traditional siloed approach and episodic treatment of this disease if we want to break the cycle of addiction. Partnership and collaboration are key to the success of this approach,” added Harris.

Substance abuse is a chronic multifaceted life-threatening disease. This year, over 4,000 fatal overdoses have been reported in the state of Florida, according to DOH-Marion.

If an individual in Marion County overdoses, specialized emergency medical services protocol will begin stabilization while transporting the patient to a specialty hospital with attained specialty expertise in addiction medicine.

Once all emergent health threats are stabilized, the patient’s long-term care needs will then be transferred to an expert multi-specialty outpatient practice to support sustainable recovery.

CORE was successfully piloted for two years in Palm Beach County, and it will be expanding in up to 12 additional counties to help patients break free from the deadly cycle of overdose. Floridians who are battling addictions 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.

If you, or someone you know, is struggling with substance use disorder and would like more information on CORE in Marion County, please contact the Ocala Fire Rescue at 352-266-4769 or visit the Florida Department of Health in Marion County’s Overdose Data to Action webpage.

For more information regarding CORE, along with various recovery resources, visit the Florida Department of Health’s Coordinated Opioid Recovery webpage.