JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Officials hope a pilot program will reduce the number of opioid overdose deaths in a Florida city.

The Florida Times-Union reports the program launches at St. Vincent’s Medical Center Riverside in Jacksonville in October. Officials say it’s the first program of its kind in Florida.

Patients treated at the hospital for overdoses will be eligible. As part of the program, peer recovery specialists will talk with patients about their treatment options. The specialists can drive the patients to available treatment facilities. The patients’ family or friends also can be contacted to help encourage treatment.

The City of Jacksonville voted in July to spend $1.5 million on the six-month pilot program. After it ends, it could be implemented across all of Jacksonville’s emergency rooms.

Jacksonville Fire and Rescue responded to 3,114 overdose victims last year.

Information from: The (Jacksonville) Florida Times-Union, http://www.jacksonville.com

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