Florida appoints first-ever ‘director of opioid recovery’ to help combat addiction

Photo of Dr. Courtney Phillips shared by Gov. Ron DeSantis on Twitter

Florida created a new statewide role that will oversee opioid recovery efforts. Governor Ron DeSantis appointed Dr. Courtney Philips as the first-ever statewide director of opioid recovery. 

The governor also announced the expansion of a new substance abuse and recovery network aimed at combating the opioid epidemic

Coordinated Opioid Recovery (CORE) is the first of its kind in the US and will be coordinated by the Department of Health, Department of Children and Families and the Agency for Health Care Administration, state officials said. 

Florida officials said Dr. Philips will provide support for the behavioral health system and will offer clinical consultations for addicts seeking treatment and recovery services. She's currently the adult psychologist serving as the Director of Behavioral Health for the Health Care District of Palm Beach County. 

"Our state and communities did not choose this epidemic, but today we choose to treat this medical and psychiatric illness like any other, with access, evidence based care, and lifelong comprehensive treatment," Dr. Philips said.

According to state officials, nearly 2,000 people have died from overdoses in Florida so far this year. 

"Substance abuse can affect any family at any time, so from education to law enforcement to treatment we are going to make sure that Floridians can take advantage of this new addiction recovery model," Gov. DeSantis said. 

The new program was piloted in Palm Beach County for nearly two years and will be expanding in up to 12 counties, Florida officials said. Floridians battling addiction can use CORE for stabilization and to receive medical assisted treatment. 

CORE will be expanding in the state in two phases. The first phase will include Manatee, Pasco, Brevard, Clay, Duval, Escambia, Gulf, Marion and Volusia counties.