Opioid Peer Program

South Florida is in the midst of an overdose epidemic. Nearly 1,700 people died of opioid overdoses in South Florida in 2016. Super-potent synthetic opioids like fentanyl and carfentanil – up to a 100 times stronger that heroin - are flooding the streets. The sheer number of overdoses is overwhelming police, firefighters, hospitals and morgues. 

Compounding the problem, recovering drug users are flocking to South Florida from hundreds of miles away – drawn by a world-renowned drug treatment industry. Some land in good centers and find a path to recovery. Others fall victim to corrupt operators and wind up homeless, pimped out...or dead. - WLRN 2023 

Broward’s community stakeholders recognize the seriousness of the increasing rate of opioid use and the associated overdoses in Broward County and throughout the United States. Consequently, the United Way of Broward County Commission on Substance Abuse, Broward Addiction Recovery Center and the Broward Sheriff’s Office initiated an integrated collaborative community response. By advancing prevention, treatment and wellness as the community’s focus, extensive work has been done to address the increasing rates of opiate use and the corresponding increases in deaths and infectious diseases with wide-spread outreach and education throughout all municipalities in Broward County.  

To address this epidemic, Peer Specialists have been integrated into our Emergency Room. Peers engage with patients who present to the ED with substance use disorders. They strive to connect patients to community resources, such as treatment, social service agencies, and harm reduction services; to decrease future ED and inpatient services utilization; and to implement post-discharge handoff protocols.  Funding support for this program is provided by a grant from the Department of Health Broward County. 

In the Event of an Overdose Call 911 

Feels like: Can’t stay awake • No energy or strength • Can’t walk or talk • Vomiting  

Looks like: Slow or no pulse • Slow or no breathing • Skin is blue/pale and cold • Can’t wake up/talk 

Additional Resources: 

  • In an emergency, call 9-1-1  
  • For information on substance abuse and mental health treatment, call 2-1-1  
  • To schedule a presentation/training, call 2-1-1  
  • Informational and educational resources, visit www.211-broward.org or www.drugfreebroward.org  
  • To anonymously report a dealer, call 954-493- 8477 (TIPS) 

Do You Need Naloxone? 

Naloxone reverses Drug Overdose. Learn about how to administer Naloxone.  

FREE Trainings and FREE take-home Intranasal Naloxone for families/friends of individuals at risk of opiate overdose.  

For more information, contact Angela Ventura (954) 453-3758, Aventura@UnitedWayBroward.org  

Save A Life! Get It. Carry It. Use It!