The Overdose Crisis: A UCF Researcher’s Perspective
Last week, the Orlando Sentinel published an article referencing a report that I recently authored (“Opioid overdoses fall in Central Florida for the first time in years”). This report detailed how overdose deaths in Central Florida declined 11% between 2021 and 2022, but this only tells part of the story. As a researcher deeply entrenched in the field of addiction and overdose, I have witnessed the devastating impact of the opioid crisis up close. In my role as a researcher, I am driven by a profound sense of purpose. The overdose crisis is not just a statistic; it’s a harrowing reality that demands our unwavering dedication. With medical advancements and harm reduction initiatives on the horizon, my mission is to contribute to the knowledge base that will save lives. I devote my efforts to educating and bringing awareness and expertise to help inform the public health response for prevention and treatment to save lives. I encourage others to do the same, get involved to prevent overdoses, and save lives. The media must play its part, shedding light on the magnitude of this crisis and pushing for the changes needed to combat it effectively. Together, we can make a difference and turn the tide on this silent epidemic. - Kendall Cortelyou is the interim director of the School of Global Health Management and Informatics at UCF.