ST. CLOUD, Fla. — The Osceola Opioid Task Force has extended its deadline until Wednesday for community organizations to provide input on how best to battle the opioid crisis.

The initiative will allocate $12 million in state funds awarded to the county after a settlement with the country’s largest pharmacies. 

What You Need To Know

  • Osceola County will receive $12 million out of the $3 billion state settlement from drug manufacturers and distributors

  • Osceola Opioid Task Force will determine how to utilize funds from settlement

  • Task force asking community organizations to provide input regarding solving opioid crises

  • Deadline for input ends Wednesday February 7, 2024. Click here for survey

Jack Brandener, an addiction and mental health therapist at the Transition House in St. Cloud, believes funding treatment programs are the only way to break the cycle of addicts in Osceola County.

The latest state data shows 3,003 people died from opioid overdoses in 2022.

“There is no other solution. So, if you don’t change your behaviors during treatment and shown the tools to do that, you’re going to relapse,” said Brandener.

Michael Enos checked into the Transition House 6 months ago, addicted to painkillers, fentanyl laced pills, alcohol, and heroin. 

“It was incredibly bad. I was using enough fentanyl every day to probably kill an elephant,” said Enos.

The former addict says his addiction was out of control and growing each day.

“Next thing you know, it was a couple of pills a day to three, four. It was progressive. By six months into it, I was doing 10 to 15 a day,” said Enos.

Enos says he thought about suicide but luckily was able to find help at the Transition House, a state and federally funded facility that serves veterans and those coming out of jail.

“You have to want recovery. But when we come in, we don’t know how to do that,” he said. “And this place helped me tremendously to do that and move forward and get through this thing that is addiction.”

Enos is moving out of the facility this week and has a job as an electrician wafting for him.

Data collected from the survey will be used to determine how funds should be distributed in the future.

The survey can be found here.