LEE COUNTY, Fla., - Thousands of Southwest Florida residents who use SalusCare to help beat addiction and substance abuse may be left to their own devices if a proposed budget cut slices $750,000 in funding from the Lee County nonprofit.
"Considering we're in an opioid crisis, it really ties our hands as an organization and community provider to help people in need," said Stacey Cook, President and CEO of SalusCare. "This is life threatening as far as cuts are concerned," she added.
Cook estimates 800 Lee County children will lose access to critical services and thousands of adults who depend on SalusCare could be at risk.
"If we don't do something like stop funding cuts, expand services and create a full continuum of substance abuse care, we're going to see a lot of our community continue to die from drug overdose," Cook said.
The Trump Administration declared a war on opioids this week as the Center of Disease Control says 91 Americans die every day from opioid overdose.
"The department is committed to continuing to work with legislators on all issues affecting the department and those we serve, both on the policy side and the appropriations side," said Florida Department of Children and Families spokesperson Jessica Sims.