Volusia County

Central Florida fentanyl overdose numbers on the rise among elderly

VOLUSIA COUNTY, Fla. — Hundreds of people across central Florida are overdosing on fentanyl.


But it’s not people who party or younger teenagers who make up the majority of the numbers — it is senior citizens.

Last year, the Orange County medical examiner’s annual report shows, there were 424 fentanyl deaths in Orange County and 117 in Osceola County.

And the number of deaths increased by more than 700% in six years.

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James Fulcher, the chief medical examiner for Volusia County, said they get overdoses from people in their 60s and 70s.

“You don’t think of the seventy-year-old grandmother, late 60-year-old grandmother going in buying drugs on the street,” Fulcher said. “Yet, that is exactly what is happening here.”

The Volusia County Medical Examiner’s Office had 314 fentanyl deaths, and more than 50% of the drug overdose deaths were of people who were 40 years or older.

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Andrew Blanco, a man who recovered from a fentanyl addiction, said the issue is getting worse because you can get the drug anywhere, including on the streets.

He started using at 13 years old.

“I overdosed, and apparently a homeless guy walking down the street saw me and called 911,” he said.

But Blanco got a second chance — he’s now helping others at Solutions By the Sea, where 20 new men get checked in to the center every week.

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Blanco said drugs are present everywhere, including near the center.

“They put fentanyl in everything (like) depressant pills with fentanyl,” he said.

Blanco said he has been clean for years but it takes just one batch to affect hundreds of lives.

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