PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla. — Encouraging news about opioid-related deaths in Palm Beach County.
According to a statement released Wednesday by Palm Beach County State Attorney Dave Aronberg, new data show that there will be a 14% reduction in opioid deaths in Palm Beach County in 2021 compared to the previous year.
The statistic, provided by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement’s annual medical report, coincided with an increase in overdose deaths statewide, he said.
Opioid deaths in Palm Beach County fell from 604 to 519.
Florida, however, recorded 6,366 deaths, up from 6,089 the year before, an increase of nearly 5%.
Most of the deaths were attributed to fentanyl or fentanyl analogs, Arenberg said. Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid 50 times more potent than heroin.
Fentanyl is now being found among other non-opioid street drugs at an alarming rate, state attorneys say.
To save more lives, the state attorney’s office is calling on state lawmakers to pass new legislation in 2023 legalizing Florida’s fentanyl test strips, which can detect the presence of the deadly drug.
“We’ve made real progress and know there’s more work to be done,” Arenberg said.