Educating Students and Saving Lives

Mar 1, 2023

Fort Lauderdale, FL (February 2023) – In 2022, Care Resource’s Special Purpose Outreach Team (The SPOT), in response to several fentanyl overdoses, canvassed the beaches of Fort Lauderdale to warn spring breakers of a surge in recreational drugs laced with dangerous synthetic opioids like fentanyl. The SPOT street teams visited popular spring break hotspots to distribute educational materials and over 3,000 doses of naloxone, a drug known by the brand name Narcan, which can revive opioid overdose victims.

This year, The SPOT has partnered with South Florida Wellness Network to expand its operation to reach more spring breakers.

“We expect thousands of spring breakers who aren’t aware of the increase in recreational drugs being laced with fentanyl. We plan on reaching more spring breakers this year and distributing more Narcan in hopes of saving additional lives,” says Emelina Martinez, Safe Syringe Exchange Services Manager for The SPOT.

Accidental overdoses from recreational drugs laced with fentanyl are becoming more common in the U.S. Fentanyl and other synthetic drugs can be 50 to 100 times more potent than heroin or prescription opioids, making them lethal and dangerous. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), overdose deaths are at an all-time high in America. Over 100,000 Americans died from drug overdoses in 2021, and 75,673 of those overdose deaths were from opioids, primarily fentanyl.

In addition to no-cost harm reduction resources, The SPOT is a mobile medical clinic that offers an array of free medical services. Participants can obtain HIV, HCV, and STI testing, and vaccinations against COVID-19. During regular operations, The SPOT is in the community providing crucial supplies and resources like new syringes, naloxone, medical services, and linkage to specialized care. The SPOT relies on private funding from organizations like Care Resource, United Way, Gilead Focus, The Fishman Family Foundation, and individuals like Dr. Peter Cinelli, to provide all services at no cost.

Dr. Thomas Smith, Director of Behavioral Health Services for The SPOT, explains that, “Federal law prohibits The SPOT from obtaining government funding for harm reduction purposes. Support and donations from our local community are essential to our operation. The more support we receive, the more lives we can save.”

For more information about The SPOT, visit https://thespotbroward.org, or call 954-566-SPOT (7768). Weekly schedules are posted on Instagram (@thespotbroward) and Facebook (The SPOT Broward).

A Care Resource Program

The SPOT Fund

The SPOT’s mission is sustained by the generosity of community members and organizations. Contributing to The SPOT Fund directly supports crucial initiatives, including the provision of new syringes, the development of educational and outreach materials, and the smooth operation of our mobile clinic. A donation is an investment in the health and well-being of our community, making a tangible difference in harm reduction, education, and accessibility to essential services.