Hernando County has not escaped the current opioid epidemic, with high rates of overdoses, criminal behaviors, and family destruction. In Florida’s Circuit 5, a 5-county area including Hernando, overdose related deaths from prescription medications steadily declined from 2010, (when Florida was losing 14 people a day who died from overdoes or with an opioid present at the time of death), to 2015. Sadly, 2016 data has showed that past and current efforts are not enough. The number of deaths caused by a prescription drug or present at the time of death identified in a toxicology report more than doubled in Circuit 5 from 2015 to 2016, increasing from 191 to 398, surpassing 2010 when 346 persons loss their life.
The deaths from heroin in Circuit 5 reported by the Medical Examiner surpass the total deaths on record from 2007 to 2015. From 2007 to 2013, a seven-year span, there was a total of 12 deaths caused by heroin. In 2014 alone, there were 15 deaths. 2015 showed 8 deaths, which though still historically high, was a significant decrease.
In 2016, the most recent year available, 40 people died from a heroin overdose in Circuit 5, a 400% increase from 2015.