The Nineteenth Judicial Circuit held an Opioid Awareness Presentation on Friday, July 19, 2019 at the St. Lucie County Courthouse. Judges, attorneys, court staff, and treatment providers were present to learn more about the opioid epidemic in Florida. The month of July was designated as Opioid Awareness Month by Chief Justice Canady of the Florida Supreme Court. Earlier this year, the National Safety Council reported that Americans are more likely to die from an accidental opioid overdose than from a motor vehicle crash. Serious addiction can start with a simple prescription and these drugs include oxycodone, Oxycontin®, hydromorphone, fentanyl and morphine.
Sergeant Register from the St. Lucie County Sheriff's Department spoke about current drug trends and the lifesaving effects that Narcan® (naloxone) has had on preventing overdose deaths. Narcan® saves people’s lives as the drug reverses the effect of opioid overdoses, when administered by injection or nasal spray. Mr. Lyle Fried from Transformations Treatment Center and “Help Our Heroes” spoke about the chemical and neurologic effects of opioids on the brain. The effects of opioids, particularly their rewarding, euphoric effects, are accentuated most when the drugs are delivered rapidly into the brain, thereby causing users “chasing the high” to snort or inject crushed prescription pills or heroin. Dr. Kenneth Palestrant from Pinnacle Rehabilitation Group spoke about MAT (Medication Assisted Treatment) and the increased success MAT continues to have in helping people overcome their addiction. The final guest speaker was Pattie Roberts who shared with us her own personal story from a mother's perspective after losing her son to an opioid overdose. The Nineteenth Judicial Circuit Court and its partners are committed to working together to keep the community safe from prescription pain medication and heroin misuse and poisonings.