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Experts commend Governor DeSantis on drug task force, but say more can be done

Counselors hope new funding to fight drug abuse is spent wisely
Posted at 10:49 PM, Apr 03, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-04 07:36:57-04

COLLIER COUNTY, Fla — Southwest Florida drug counselors and former addicts say they welcome Governor Ron DeSantis' efforts to combat the opioid epidemic.

The governor announced Monday he's also reactivating the dormant Office of Drug Control.

"I started drinking, and drugging when I was around 15," said Blake Becker.

Becker ended up at the David Lawrence Center in Collier County 7 years ago, after being arrested on drug charges.

"I started with marijuana, and drinking, and moved on to prescription pills, because I wasn't treating my mental health issues, I needed more medications, which was on the streets buying drugs," said Becker.

He's hoping the $26 million approved by the federal government will go toward treating some of the mental health issues himself and many other drug addicts suffer from.

"Many of our clients deal with trauma stemming from childhood, things that have happened along the way that are unresolved, so maybe it was witnessing something violent, maybe something violent happened to them," said Director of the Crossroads Continuum at the David Lawrence Center.

Baldwin is hoping some of the money can be used to lengthen stays at the David Lawrence Center and expand out patient treatment.

She's also hoping some of the money can be used to combat alcohol addiction which leads to more deaths in Collier County than drugs.