Law enforcement, faith leaders discuss rise in overdose deaths since the pandemic

An organization called Project Opioid held a discussion at Majestic Life Church, an African American church in Orlando on Wednesday. 

Project Opioid’s goal is to gather community leaders and build a coalition to fight overdose deaths. Members of law enforcement and local faith leaders attended.

The CEO of Project Opioid said overdose deaths in Black and Latino communities in Florida have skyrocketed by 110 percent and 67 percent respectively since this time in 2019 because of the pandemic. 

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Seminole County Sheriff Dennis Lemma attended the event. For years, one of his key issues has been the opioid crisis.

"I think that reality is that a lot of people in the Black community are skeptical of law enforcement officers," Sheriff Lemma said. "So, we hope to come together with pastors and our faith community to build that confidence and trust and look at the services that are available and to inform them to help us change the face of addiction."

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The people who gathered for this discussion say bringing more people together and bringing more awareness to the problem will help reduce the number of overdose deaths.

Tune in to FOX 35 Orlando for the latest Central Florida news.