MIAMI (CBSMiami) — Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi will serve on a task force appointed by President Donald Trump Wednesday to tackle an epidemic of heroin addiction that is sweeping the country and South Florida.
Dozens of times every day, in Miami-Dade County alone, rescuers rush to help people who have overdosed on opioids – mainly heroin.
In South Florida, heroin overdoses are killing people at the rate of about 5,000 a year.
Ana Moreno directs Family Recovery specialists – just one clinic inundated with those hooked on heroin.
“Miami-Dade County alone is up to five overdose deaths a day,” Moreno said Wednesday.
It is a national crisis.
“It’s really one of the biggest problems our country has and nobody wants to talk about it,” President Trump said as he assembled his newly appointed task force.
In upping the conversation, the president named New Jersey Governor Chris Christie to chair the task on opioid addiction. In addition to Florida’s Bondi, other top figures in law enforcement and medicine are on the panel.
Legitimate painkillers, prescribed to patients, typically mark the starting line on the road to heroin addiction.
“They’re on them potentially for too long, they stop getting their prescription, and they’re turning to heroin,” said Moreno. Heroin is cheap, sometimes “cheaper than candy,” President Trump said.
Heroin is cheap, sometimes “cheaper than candy,” President Trump said.
The president’s task force is charged with, among other things, developing funding plans for education, more treatment, and alternatives to jail; a rescue mission to cure a plague of death and dysfunction.
“This issue causes enormous pain and destruction to everyday families,” Christie said as he accepted the chairmanship of the opioid panel.
Heroin provides such a euphoric high that users use more and more – frequently with fatal results.
“These people who have overdosed and died, their intent was not to die,” Moreno said. “The addiction is just so difficult to overcome.”
Blue-ribbon panels are known to move at a snail’s pace. President Trump, however, told his heroin task force to work with urgency. He wants a preliminary report by mid-summer and a complete battle plan by the first of October.