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Thompson Wants Solution To COVID Related Substance Abuse

Photo: Remi Walle
Photo: Remi Walle

Substance abuse in Florida has spiked over the past year. Health officials say there’s a clear link between an increase in overdose deaths in 2020 and the stress and isolation caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Windermere Democratic Representative Geraldine Thompson says she wants to find solutions to fight substance abuse without depending on the criminal justice system.
“Our correctional institutions have replaced mental health institutions with regard to treating the issues. So as policy makers, those are the kinds of thing that we want to look at. How do we offer preventative treatment so we don’t have warehousing on the back end and as you say, trying to arrest our way out of this crisis.” Thompson spoke with healthcare professionals during a virtual meeting Tuesday about the impact COVID-19 has had on the state’s ongoing opioid crisis.

Danielle Prieur covers education in Central Florida.