CORE at Flagler | Florida Department of Health

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Flagler County, Florida – Today, Deputy Health Secretary Dr. Kenneth Schepke and Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF) Assistant Secretary for Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Erica Floyd Thomas, along with community partners, visited the expansion of Coordinated Opioid Recovery (CORE) in Flagler County – a comprehensive addiction and opioid treatment network.

This year, Florida survived 4000 fatal overdoses have been reported. In Flagler County, EMS reported that in 2021, crews responded to more than 400 overdose calls.

The CORE Network is the first of its kind in the nation, coordinated by the Florida Department of Health, Department of Children and Families and the Agency for Health Care Administration. The CORE Network’s comprehensive treatment approach expands every aspect of the overdose response and creates a comprehensive, sustainable system of care and patient navigation to holistically address all primary and secondary impacts of substance use disorder.

“The existing standard of care for substance use disorder is outdated. The current response to overdose in most of the United States treats acute overdose without providing access to sustainable care.” said Dr. Kenneth Schepke, Under Secretary for Health. “That’s exactly why we developed CORE. This program facilitates the necessary connections between local emergency response networks and specialized health care not only to respond to acute overdoses, but also to connect individuals with substance use disorder to sustainable and long-term care.

In the wake of Hurricane Ian, there are also concerns about increased substance use and overdose deaths due to the impact on people’s mental health and the disruption of normal pharmaceutical supply chains. It is critical that community partners provide resources to their communities as we continue our recovery efforts. We must remain vigilant both now and in the long term to prevent overdose deaths.

“The CORE Network extends far beyond crisis treatment and stabilization,” said DCF Assistant Secretary for Substance Abuse and Mental Health Erica Floyd Thomas. “This model uses a holistic approach that brings together key partners at every level to meet the short- and long-term medical, physical, psychological and emotional needs of one’s recovery journey. With this approach, I am confident that together we can reduce the devastating impact opioids have on our children, our families and our communities.

Substance abuse is a chronic multifaceted life-threatening disease. If a person in Flagler County overdoses, the EMS protocol will begin stabilization while transporting the patient to a specialty hospital with specialized expertise in addiction medicine. Once all emerging health threats have been stabilized, the patient’s long-term care needs will be transferred to an expert multi-specialty outpatient practice to support sustainable recovery.

CORE provides a personalized treatment umbrella ranging from primary care to mental health support. By facilitating these connections in Flagler County, CORE is breaking the revolving door of addiction by connecting overdoses with sustainable care in real time.

If you or someone you know is struggling with a substance use disorder and would like more information about CORE in Flagler County, you can contact Flagler Cares at 386-319-9483 or the Florida Department of Health at Flagler County.

If you suspect an overdose, call 911 immediately. The State of Florida has been deployed resources that may be posted in public places to ensure Floridians remain alert to the signs of overdose, how to respond and where help is available.

About the Florida Department of Health

The department, nationally accredited by the Council on Public Health Accreditation, works to protect, promote and improve the health of all people in Florida through integrated state, county and community efforts.

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