Drug czar visits Jacksonville school to address addiction during the pandemic

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – He’s known as President Donald Trump’s “Drug czar” and he paid a visit to Jacksonville on Friday to talk about what the federal government is doing to address substance abuse during the pandemic.

Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy Jim Carroll was showing how critical care is during the pandemic for those struggling with addiction.

He met with some young local men and women who are working to heal and pursue a life of sobriety.

“When we first heard about this recovery high school we started hearing about miracles that were happening,” Carroll said.

Carroll spent the morning at River Oak Recovery High School in Jacksonville speaking in a spot that he says really makes sense and praised the work done at the school.

“We’re in what used to be a church and it is miracles happening here with kids who are so desperately in need of a loving touch...someone who understands exactly what they’re doing,” he said.

October is Substance Abuse Prevention Month and the director pointed out socialization restrictions during the pandemic have led to increased feelings of loneliness and isolation putting vulnerable populations at risk of illicit substance use or relapse.

“We are dealing with two health emergencies," Carroll said. "We’re dealing with an addiction emergency. President Trump has made that very clear from the beginning of his time that’s something we need to address and now of course we’re dealing with COVID.”

Carroll says more people in Jacksonville, are carrying Naloxone, which is designed to rapidly reverse an opioid overdose.

He says that’s why despite the spike in overdoses in the area he believes the data will show the fatalities that could be associated with it are not going up as well. He hopes that trend will continue.

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