SANFORD, Fla. (FOX 35 ORLANDO) - Governor Ron DeSantis made two major announcements in Sanford on Monday morning.
During the press conference, DeSantis announced that he is re-establishing the office of drug control and creating a drug task force on drug abuse to combat the opioid epidemic. Attorney General Ashley Moody was appointed to chair the statewide task force, which will develop a strategy and make recommendations for attacking the opioid crisis.
Moody said that Florida loses 17 people a day to the drug crisis, including one on Monday in Seminole County where the announcement took place. The drug control office will coordinate with state and federal officials with a goal of reducing opioid abuse.
DeSantis also said Florida has secured an additional $26 million in federal funding for the state's opioid response project.
Prior to the announcement of the opioid crisis task force, DeSantis announced that Dr. Scott Rivkees, the chairman of pediatrics at the University of Florida medical school, would be Florida's next surgeon general and secretary of the Florida Department of Health.
According to the Orlando Sentinel, Rivkee will lead an agency with a $3 billion budget and more than 13,400 employees. They will oversee disease prevention and control, handle licensing and regulation for health professionals, and lead the state's medical marijuana program.
DeSantis was joined by Lieutenant Governor Jeanette Nunez and State Attorney General Ashley Moody. You can watch the press conference below.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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