Drug overdose deaths in Florida are highest in the Pensacola area, more than twice the state rate

In the face of a statewide decline in drug overdose fatalities, the Pensacola region remains the most afflicted area in Florida, recording the highest rate of drug overdose deaths, significantly surpassing the state average.

Recent data from the Florida Attorney General’s Office, sourced from the Bureau of Vital Statistics, indicates a modest 3% reduction in Florida’s drug-related deaths overall.

However, the narrative is starkly different in the Pensacola medical district, encompassing Escambia, Santa Rosa, Okaloosa, and Walton counties, which continues to report alarming figures.

Escambia County is notably impacted, with a staggering rate of 75 drug overdose deaths per 100,000 residents, more than double the state’s average of 34.9.

Following closely are Okaloosa County with 54 deaths per 100,000 residents, Walton County at 36, and Santa Rosa County slightly above the state average at 34.1. Collectively,

these four counties in the Florida Panhandle contributed to 458 of the state’s total 7,556 drug overdose deaths last year, accounting for 6.1% of the statewide total.

The surge in overdose deaths is primarily attributed to opioids, with a significant number of fatalities linked to fentanyl.

In the first half of 2022 alone, the region reported 350 opioid-related deaths, with fentanyl implicated in 217 of these cases.

By year’s end, these figures had alarmingly increased to 624 and 398, respectively, as reported by the Pensacola News Journal.

This ongoing crisis underscores the critical need for targeted interventions and resources to address the escalating public health emergency in the Pensacola area.

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