BCC approves grant to continue fight against opioid overdoses

The Pinellas County Board of County Commissioners on Tuesday approved a $2 million federal grant that will help the County strive to reduce opioid-related deaths and connect people to effective treatment.

Pinellas County Human Services and Safety and Emergency Services have partnered for the First Responders – Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (FR-CARA) Program to increase community access to Naloxone for overdose reversal, increase partner trainings on how to use Naloxone, and expand a Quick Response Team (QRT) pilot program. The FR-CARA grant will enhance the current program throughout Pinellas County. It is one of many ways in which Pinellas County and community agencies and partners work to fight the opioid overdose crisis.

Additionally, the QRT will contact consenting overdose individuals revived by EMS to conduct wellness checks and engage individuals in community treatment. Outreach efforts will occur for up to 90 days post-overdose. Pinellas County will also collect data that will inform the program.

From 2016 to 2020, Pinellas County 911 transports of suspected overdoses increased by nearly 331 percent, and 911 transports with Naloxone administered increased by 56 percent. Calls to 911 for suspected overdoses appear concentrated in several zip codes, with three having the highest number. Those trends have continued in 2021.

The grant award from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration is for four years.