Drug Addiction & Abuse: We are far from overcoming the problem

Everyone one of us has been affected by drug addiction.  For me, I have witnessed far too many young people die unnecessarily.  Let me share just one of my personal stories.

I have known “Hollywood” since she was born.  She and her family were members of our church.  I nicknamed her Hollywood when she was about 4 years old because of her amazing hair and her infectious personality.  She was drama queen and princess all in one.  I watched her grow from baby, to a happy little girl, to a troubled teenager, and then an unwed mother.

Unfortunately, her family were all involved with drugs and she just followed what she knew.  As she struggled to keep custody of her kids between jail stays, her bubbly personality grew darker each year.  Upon learning of her death due to a fentanyl overdose, we were deeply saddened, but not surprised.  What did surprise us was the fact that neither her mother nor brother were able to identify her body due to their own issues.  She laid in the county morgue for 4 months before we were able to have her body cremated and her ashes released to us.  I will always remember her amazing hair, sparkling eyes and beautiful smile.  I miss her.

As your Senator, and in honor of my friend “Hollywood” and the many others who have left us too soon, I will work to educate Floridians on the reality and dangers of opioid abuse.  I will also work with law enforcement, task forces and families to see that those who are responsible for bringing drugs into our county are fully prosecuted.

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