Will school safety efforts divert funding from opioid crisis?

Drug Free Duval hopes state continues to fund opioid programs

By Jenese Harris - Reporter/anchor

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Days after Gov. Rick Scott announced a school safety plan costing $500 million, groups fighting the opioid epidemic are worried their funding will suffer in the process.

Drug Free Duval, a group focused on prevention and education to battle opioid addiction, receives 30 percent of its funding from the state, said they can't afford to cut back.

"Why is it an either or? Why is it if we make our children safe here we are going to pull funding from opioids?" Susan Pittman said. "Sixteen people a day in the state of Florida are dying as a result of opioid misuse, abuse, etc."

Scroll down to see Jacksonville Fire-Rescue's
increase in drug overdose response 2014-18 

According to the governor’s office, the school safety plan uses money from Florida Education Funding Program, but not from any source that funds the opioid epidemic.

“We will continue to work with the Legislature on this important issue to help families struggling with the national opioid epidemic," the office said in a statement. 

Despite Scott's proposal, lawmakers will have the final in how state money is allocated in the budget. Pittman hopes that it doesn't affect the work they are doing, because people are still dying from the opioid epidemic.

"The reality is that we get $79,000 to message, train, to educate over a million people. That's, like, 7 cents a person," Pittman said. "If we don't prevent it, we don't stop people from using it the first time or overusing it the first time then, we are going to continue in this problem."

A breakdown of the $500 million school safety funding, provided by the governor's office:

$450 million Proposal to Keep Students Safe



Safe Schools Allocation in the Florida Education Finance Program



 Base Funding






New Mental Health Allocation in the FEFP






$50 million Proposal for Mental Health Initiatives



Expand DCF Community Action Treatment (CAT) teams and Coordinated Specialty Care teams statewide



DCF Case managers assigned to Sheriff's Offices


67 FTE


Law Enforcement and Mental Health Coordination Matching Grants to Sheriffs






Copyright 2018 by WJXT News4Jax - All rights reserved.