Fourteen counties, including Manatee, will split about $6 million in federal funding to fight the opioid crisis, U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-Longboat Key, announced Thursday.
As part of the 21st Century Cures Act, Florida received $27 million out of the $485 million in federal funding distributed nationwide. Gov. Rick Scott selected seven “managing entities” to distribute $18 million of that funding for substance abuse treatment.
Manatee, Sarasota and Hillsborough counties are among the 14 Southwest Florida counties that will split $6 million of that substance abuse treatment funding. Another $9 million of Florida’s money will go toward buying the overdose antidote called naloxone, hiring behavioral health specialists and other anti-drug services, Buchanan said.
In 2015, Manatee County had the highest deaths per capita relating to fentanyl, cocaine and morphine, and tied with Palm Beach County, according to the Medical Examiners Commission Drug Report.
Buchanan sent a letter to Gov. Rick Scott in April asking to direct as much funding as possible to his district, which includes Manatee, Sarasota and Hillsborough. Last month, state and local officials met to discuss the needs to combat the opioid crisis and a resounding request was funding.