Opioid crisis: Latvala says state ‘should do our part’ to help Palm Beach County

Florida Senate Appropriations Chairman Jack Latvala, R-Clearwater, talks to reporters after today’s discussion on the opioid crisis.

Florida Senate Appropriations Chairman Jack Latvala, R-Clearwater, listened to Palm Beach County elected officials, first responders, medical professionals and advocates talk about the opioid crisis for about three hours today at the Lake Worth campus of Palm Beach State College.

Palm Beach County Commissioner Melissa McKinlay helped organize the meeting in which Latvala, Senate President Joe Negron, R-Stuart, and other elected officials heard about an 11-month old baby being treated for heroin addiction, daily overdose deaths and a shortage of detox and treatment beds.

“This is the number one public health crisis facing our community and the country. This is the number one criminal justice issue facing our community and the country,” State Attorney Dave Aronberg said near the beginning of the meeting.

Latvala, expected to announce a run for governor next week, said he learned a lot and believes the state should provide help.

“I think the sheer number of people that came to talk about this issue for a guy from Pinellas County where this is really not that big of an issue, it was stunning to me that there were that many people – the magnitude of the calls to the fire department, the involvement of the Sheriff’s department, just the whole community seems to be zeroing in on trying to solve this problem, so I think the state should do our part to try to solve it with the community,” Latvala said after the roundtable discussion.

Look for a more complete story later today at MyPalmBeachPost.com

 

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