Gov. DeSantis signs 2 bills into to law to fight opioid epidemic in Florida

Gov. Ron DeSantis signed two bills into law that aim to fight the opioid epidemic in Florida.

The Florida governor signed Senate Bill 718 and Senate Bill 66 during a news conference at the Seminole County Sheriff's Office Professional Development Center in Sanford on Monday morning. 

Senate Bill 718

This law would criminally punish adults who, while unlawfully possessing certain controlled substances, recklessly subject a first responder to these substances, resulting in overdose or severe bodily harm.

It also expands the protection of a person acting in good faith who seeks medical assistance for someone experiencing or believed to be experiencing, an alcohol-related or a drug-related overdose, etc. That person would be protected under the law from arrest, charging, prosecution, or penalization. 

The law will take effect on Oct. 1, 2024. 

Senate Bill 66 (Victoria's Law)

This act, known as Victoria's Law, will designate June 6 as "Revive Awareness Day" in Florida. It directs the Florida Department of Health to raise awareness each year of the dangers of an opioid overdose and the availability and safe use of opioid antagonists as a way to quickly reverse the effects of an opioid overdose.

The law is named after Victoria Siegel, the 18-year-old daughter of Orlando mogul David Sigiel, who died of an accidental, lethal overdose of heroin and anti-depression medication in 2015.

"We are extremely grateful to Governor DeSantis for signing this bill into law and to the lawmakers in the Florida House and Senate that supported this important legislation," said Victoria's parents – Jackie and David Siegel – who co-founded Victoria’s Voice Foundation.

DeSantis also announced that CORE has expanded from 12 counties to 17 additional counties in Florida:

  • Bay
  • Broward
  • Collier
  • Hernando
  • Hillsborugh
  • Indian River
  • lake
  • Lee
  • Miami-Dade
  • Monroe
  • Orange
  • Polk
  • Sarasota
  • Seminole
  • St. Lucie

With the launch of CORE, Florida has also seen a reduction in the number of emergency medical service responses necessary for drug overdose, officials said.