Broward County is about to get more money for programs helping people fight their opioid addictions.
The federal government set aside nearly $1 billion to fight the opioid crisis nationwide this year. Florida is set to receive $49.3 million from those funds, of which an estimated $7-10 million is going to Broward County.
County officials don’t know yet exactly how much they will get.
Broward will have to decide how to allocate any funds before knowing how much they will recieve because counties and providers are required to start spending the money and providing services with it beginning Oct. 1.
Garry Smyth, the chief operating officer of Fifth Street Counseling Center, a Broward addiction treatment facility, believes the best strategy for using the money is to beef up treatment programs that are already well-established rather than trying to build new ones. He's also on two state boards that help distribute funding for the opioid crisis: the Florida Alcohol and Drug Abuse Association (FADAA) and the Florida Behavioral Health Association.
"Find the providers that are already doing the work and find out if they are willing and able to scale up their operations,” he said.
Broward County recently started offering a type of medication-assisted treatment for people struggling to beat opioid addictions: Vivitrol. It’s a name-brand injection that works by reducing opioid cravings in the brain.
Vivitrol programs offered at county-run facilities began in January.
The federal grant will go toward funding more Vivitrol treatment programs across Broward, as well as other medication treatments, like methadone and buprenorphine – both of which are opioid derivatives.
The money can go toward housing and faith-based organizations offering therapy.
"The language is very broad as to who can participate," Smyth said. "Profits, non-profits, faith-based organizations ... it's the full continuum of care for substance abuse disorders."