September is Opioid & Stimulants Awareness Month

Courts across Florida have been heavily impacted by opioid and stimulant epidemics. And the issue affects everyone: family, friends and the community. There is also the added taxpayer expense as the justice, social services, and health care systems address these and related problems.

The criminal justice system has played an important role in fostering solutions, including effective treatment for those fighting addiction, through problem-solving courts. A hybrid model that combines the law, rehabilitation and substance abuse treatment.

September is the month Florida Courts builds awareness of the misuse and illicit uses of opioids and stimulants, fosters partnerships and takes action to address issues and impacts of substance abuse use disorders.

Read the proclamation issued by Florida Supreme Court Chief Justice Carlos Muñiz naming September 2023 as Opioid and Stimulant Use Disorder Awareness Month within the State Courts System.

How you can make a difference

You can help by taking the time and expanding your knowledge in the subject and inspiring others to take part in the effective treatment for addiction or find solutions to a widely known problem with devastating consequences. Seek the advice of one of our knowledgeable “Circuit Champions” (see sidebar). Or review the Florida Courts Opioids & Stimulants Awareness Month page. New this year is the 2023 Champions Summit, a free, virtual training by leading experts, including members of our own Opioid Drug Court team in Sarasota. Pre-registration is required.

By the Numbers


1. 2019 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 2020.
2. National Center for Health Statistics, National Vital Statistics System. Provisional drug overdose death counts.

Recovery is possible

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s Rx Awareness campaign reminds us that “there is hope. Recovery is possible.”

Watch more videos and experience the stories of people whose lives have been negatively impacted by prescription drug use and abuse.

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Meet the ‘Champions’ of the Twelfth Circuit

Circuit Court Judge Lon Arend, Criminal Courts Manager Ashley Brown, Manatee County Treatment Courts Director Alfred James and Sarasota Drug Court Director Rachel Lane have been named as “Circuit Champions” — judges, magistrates and key court staff who are subject matter leaders on opioids, stimulants and their effects on the courts. “Champions” are tasked with becoming informed about the topics, promoting awareness and solutions in their circuits and helping to create a community of shared learning.