Moody focusing on fight against fraud, opioid epidemic

Florida Attorney General makes war on opioid abuse one of her top priorities

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis hit the ground running last month, swiftly making policy announcements and executive decisions. Ashley Moody took the oath of office as Florida’s Attorney General the same day.

She has focused her energies on two main high-profile issues. On Friday, News4Jax we spoke with Moody in her Jacksonville office about fighting against fraud and the opioid epidemic.

"We’re looking at all options that we have at our disposal to make a dent," the Florida attorney general said.

When Moody took office in January, she made the war on opioid abuse a top priority. She said that priority stemmed from her road to Tallahassee. Moody said when the campaign started, 14 people per day were dying from opioids. Now, it’s 17 a day.

"To date, we do not have a statewide working group on this issue.  When you’re losing that many people a day, to say it is not a crisis would be disingenuous," she said. "This is a crisis. I had people crying on my shoulders for the last year that had lost immediate family members. I pledged to do something about that and we are doing it."

In light of that commitment, Moody formed a working group to deal with the issue. It includes Jacksonville City Councilman Bill Gulliford.

Moody wants a formalized task force to find the most effective way to eliminate the addiction that’s destroying lives.

"We can’t just arrest our way out of this. So we have to have experts working together in all of these areas to be able to make a dent in what’s going on in Florida," she said. "I’ve said that this will be one of my top priorities. It is one of my top priorities. I have already been personally meeting with legislators to make sure it’s one of their top priorities, as it should be, and I’ll see it through till the end."

The Republican attorney general also said tackling fraud is important to her and discussed ways to prevent abuse by contractors, especially after a natural disaster like a hurricane.

About the Author:

Kent Justice co-anchors News4Jax's 5 p.m., 10 and 11 p.m. newscasts weeknights and reports on government and politics. He also hosts "This Week in Jacksonville," Channel 4's hot topics and politics public affairs show each Sunday morning at 9 a.m.