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I knew who to call — but couldn’t save my daughter

Special Report: Generation Heroin

Special Report: Generation Heroin

In 2015, 216 died of heroin-related overdoses in Palm Beach County. We tell each of their stories, unveil a stigma buried in suburbia, and a failure of policy-makers to act against an epidemic taking more lives than car crashes or homicides.
Palm Beach County considers czar, spending $1 million in opioid fight

Palm Beach County considers czar, spending $1 million in opioid fight

Palm Beach County commissioners will consider a variety of options next Tuesday to combat the rampaging opioid epidemic, including the hiring of a senior-level administrative staffer, creating two new positions with the Medical Examiner’s Office and pouring $1 million into a range of treatment programs. Those options are among the recommendations of a 72-page report outlining the scope of the...
Delaney wins council seat over Klug in Jupiter

Delaney wins council seat over Klug in Jupiter

Ron Delaney Incumbent Ron Delaney narrowly won Tuesday’s runoff election for the Jupiter Town Council Second District seat against Ben Klug. “We ran an honest campaign. We did not do any negative campaigning. I just told the truth,” said Delaney, who spent Tuesday night at his Egret Cove home with his family. Read the full story in The Palm Beach Post.  
Delaney wins race for Jupiter town council against Klug

Delaney wins race for Jupiter town council against Klug

Ron Delaney Ron Delaney narrowly has won the race to in Tuesday’s runoff election for the Jupiter Town Council Second District seat against Ben Klug. Delaney has about 51 percent compared to Klug’s 49 percent, according to the Palm Beach County Supervisor of Elections Office.  Stay with The Palm Beach Post for more election results.
Delaney off to early lead in Jupiter council election

Delaney off to early lead in Jupiter council election

  Ron Delaney has jumped off to a lead over Ben Klug in early absentee ballots in Tuesday’s runoff election for the Jupiter Town Council Second District seat. Delaney has about 59 percent compared to Klug’s 41 percent of absentee ballots, the only ones that have been counted so far by the Palm Beach County Supervisor of Elections Office. Stay with The Palm Beach Post for election...
Heroin Crisis: Chief Judge Colbath latest public official urging governor to help

Heroin Crisis: Chief Judge Colbath latest public official urging governor to help

Palm Beach County Chief Circuit Judge Jeffrey Colbath has joined a growing list of public officials asking Gov.
Jupiter residents complain alot, but will they vote on Tuesday?

Jupiter residents complain alot, but will they vote on Tuesday?

Indiantown Road traffic is one of many issues facing Jupiter (Photo/Lannis Waters) “Complaining on Facebook is easy. We live in such a lovely place. Too many people take it for granted,” said Jupiter resident Cheryl Schneider, one of many locals who want a big turnout in Tuesday’s runoff Jupiter town council election between Ron Delaney and Ben Klug.. See the full story in The Palm...
Doctor who worked at notorious treatment center pleads guilty

Doctor who worked at notorious treatment center pleads guilty

One of the three doctors accused of helping notorious drug treatment operator Kenneth “Kenny” Chatman commit millions of dollars in fraud pleaded guilty Thursday. Dr. Donald Willems, who was out on bond until he was caught last week prescribing drugs to himself, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit health care fraud. He could spend up to 10 years in prison. Sentencing is scheduled...
BREAKING: Overdose deaths drop sharply in Martin County this year

BREAKING: Overdose deaths drop sharply in Martin County this year

Following two major drug-enforcement efforts aimed at suspected sellers and distributors, Martin County has seen a sharp decline in recent overdose cases, sheriff’s officials said. The sheriff’s office reported fewer than 10 overdose calls in each of the last three months, following a spike in 2016 that reached as high as 29 in October. “We’re clearly seeing a downward trend...
Citing Palm Beach County, Nelson urges lawmakers to save funding for opioid epidemic

Citing Palm Beach County, Nelson urges lawmakers to save funding for opioid epidemic

U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson took to the Senate floor today to urge his colleagues not to take up any legislation that would reduce money and efforts  to combat the nation’s growing opioid epidemic.
UPDATE: Deputies 'could see drug particles in the air' during heroin bust

UPDATE: Deputies 'could see drug particles in the air' during heroin bust

UPDATE 11:50 a.m.: When the St. Lucie Sheriff’s Office conducted their heroin drug bust Tuesday night, they “could see drug particles in the air,” Sheriff Ken J. Mascara said at a news conference on Wednesday afternoon. Considered “the largest heroin-related drug bust in the history of the sheriff’s office,” deputies confiscated more than $300...
JUST IN: St. Lucie drug bust yields 150 Xanax bars, one arrest

JUST IN: St. Lucie drug bust yields 150 Xanax bars, one arrest

A 23-year-old man had 150 Xanax bars in his possession when he was arrested late Friday, the St. Lucie County Sheriff’s Office said. Get the latest Breaking News from The Post Jimmy Lee Kokkinaris remained in custody Saturday morning at the St. Lucie County jail with his bail set at $61,500. He faces two charges of possession of a controlled substance without a prescription and possession of...
Medical Examiner reports at least 10 overdose deaths today

Medical Examiner reports at least 10 overdose deaths today

Is there a bad batch of heroin on the street? The Medical Examiner tweets that they have had 10 overdose deaths today alone, raising the possibility an especially lethal version of heroin is being sold locally.
Ten overdoses in one day: Is there bad heroin on the street?

Ten overdoses in one day: Is there bad heroin on the street?

Is there a bad batch of heroin in Palm Beach County? The Palm Beach County Medical Examiner tweeted Friday morning that they have had 10 overdose deaths in a single day, raising concerns that an especially lethal form of heroin is on the street. The drug that has been most linked to heroin deaths is fentanyl, and variations of it, such as carfentanyl, an elephant tranquilizer. It’s...
Owner of notorious drug treatment center pleads guilty today

Owner of notorious drug treatment center pleads guilty today

Drug treatment center owner Kenneth “Kenny” Chatman pleaded guilty Wednesday to conspiracy to commit health care fraud, money laundering and conspiracy to recruit persons into sexual acts, a charge that could send him to prison for life.
Jupiter campaign dollars – Follow the money

Jupiter campaign dollars – Follow the money

Jupiter voters: Are you wondering where Ron Delaney and Ben Klug got their campaign cash? Click here to take a look. Delaney and Klug are running in a March 28 runoff contest for the Jupiter town council. Ron Delaney Ben Klug
Another runoff election in Jupiter?

Another runoff election in Jupiter?

  Ben Klug Ron Delaney If the word “Runoff” sounds familiar to Jupiter voters, it’s no wonder. It happened just a year ago. Wayne Posner, who Tuesday night won re-election to the council, defeated longtime incumbent Karen Golonka  a runoff last March for a seat on the town council. Golonka, a retired urban planner, announced she would not run again after serving eight...
Heroin crisis: Martin County asks governor to declare health emergency

Heroin crisis: Martin County asks governor to declare health emergency

Heroin crisis: Post reporter to moderate opioids panel at national conference

Heroin crisis: Post reporter to moderate opioids panel at national conference

As a lifelong resident of Palm Beach County, Clarence Anthony knows he is in a unique position to help shine a spotlight on the opioid crisis tearing apart communities across the United States.
Doctor in Chatman case caught working for drug treatment center

Doctor in Chatman case caught working for drug treatment center

Dr. Donald Willems, one of two doctors charged with insurance fraud at notorious drug treatment programs operated by Kenneth Chatman, was re-arrested on Friday and accused of violating the conditions of his bond. According to court records unsealed Friday afternoon, Willems continued working for a drug treatment facility, wrote prescriptions without a license and had contact with witnesses &mdash...
New charges in Kenny Chatman case: Evidence “massive”

New charges in Kenny Chatman case: Evidence “massive”

  New charges have been filed against a doctor who worked for Kenneth Chatman’s notorious sober home operation, where women addicts were prostituted, held against their will and allowed to continue using drugs, according to court records. The new charges against Dr. Joaquin Mendez include conspiracy to commit health care fraud, giving a false statement relating to health-care fraud and...
Sober home task force raid nets 20th arrest

Sober home task force raid nets 20th arrest

The Palm Beach County Sober Home Task Force made its 20th arrest on Wednesday, charging Steve Johnson with 48 counts of patient brokering, alleging he paid referral fees to sober home operators for insured addicts. Johnson, 45, a 1990 graduate of Wellington High School, was being booked into the Palm Beach County Detention Center on Wednesday morning as agents raided Palm Beach Recovery & Wellness...
Three more sober home operators arrested in Delray Beach

Three more sober home operators arrested in Delray Beach

Two brothers and a tattoo artist surrendered at the Palm Beach County jail on Sunday after learning they were being charged with dozens of counts of patient brokering for allegedly accepting kickbacks from Chapters Recovery, a drug treatment center in Delray Beach. Brothers Adam, 25, and Eric, 28 Lahr, of Palm Beach Gardens, each face 34 counts of patient brokering. According to arrest reports, the...
POINT OF VIEW Whose child has to die before somebody does something?

POINT OF VIEW Whose child has to die before somebody does something?

“Whose child has to die before somebody does something?” That was the question my former aide, Johnnie Easton, asked me shortly after I was elected. It was one of what would become many sleepless nights she had to call me to tell me she would be late because she was out searching the streets for her daughter, Tasha. In mid-November of 2016, she got the answer to that question. Hers. Since...
Visit the Palm Beach Post at Honda Classic!

Visit the Palm Beach Post at Honda Classic!

Stop and say hi at the Honda Classic to Palm Beach Post reps Ron Carr & Deanna Hamilton at the Palm Beach Post. The booth is near the driving range.  
Drug treatment CEO arrested on 93 counts of patient brokering

Drug treatment CEO arrested on 93 counts of patient brokering

The owner of a Delray Beach drug treatment center raided in December was arrested Thursday on 93 counts of patient brokering for allegedly paying kickbacks to sober home owners who enrolled insured addicts his treatment program. Daniel Kandler, 41, owner of Chapters Recovery - formerly known as Good Future Recovery - was arrested on Thursday morning by the Palm Beach County Sober Home Task Force...
NEW: St. Lucie woman jailed after shooting up heroin in 7-Eleven

NEW: St. Lucie woman jailed after shooting up heroin in 7-Eleven

A Port St. Lucie woman was arrested Wednesday after reportedly shooting up heroin in a 7-Eleven bathroom, city police said. Late Wednesday an officer was at the 7-Eleven on St. Lucie West Boulevard east of Interstate 95 and heard groaning from the women’s bathroom. Someone was banging on the walls, the officer said. READ MORE: The Post’s complete coverage of South Florida’s heroin...
Tears, anger as more than 100 people call for help on opioids crisis

Tears, anger as more than 100 people call for help on opioids crisis

One by one, through tears and in voices rising with anger, they stepped forward and shared tragic details of how heroin and opioids have torn apart their lives. A mother of an addict said she feels so hopeless she has “made his funeral arrangements in my brain.’’ A woman from Delaware described how her 24-year-old son found his brother dead of a fentanyl overdose. A frustrated father...
Therapist: 90% of addicts in Chatman sober homes openly used drugs

Therapist: 90% of addicts in Chatman sober homes openly used drugs

As many as 90 percent of the addicts who were supposed to be getting treatment while living in sober homes connected to the notorious drug-treatment businesses operated by Kenneth Chatman were openly using drugs, enabling Chatman to continue billing their insurance for millions of dollars in unnecessary drug tests, according to the former clinical treatment director. New details of Chatman’s...
At least 60 people expected tonight at heroin strategy meeting

At least 60 people expected tonight at heroin strategy meeting

Palm Beach County Commissioner Melissa McKinlay said she is expecting at least 60 people tonight at an informal meeting with families affected by the opioid epidemic.
County budget wishes, including $3 million for drug crisis, top income

County budget wishes, including $3 million for drug crisis, top income

Palm Beach County is contemplating additional spending — as much as $1 million this year and another $2 million in 2018 — to combat the heroin and opioid crisis that has devastated families and put added strains on first responders and hospitals here and across the country. The idea of spending the additional money was presented by county staff members Tuesday as they gave commissioners...
Renewed push to declare heroin a crisis: Governor hears from Democrats

Renewed push to declare heroin a crisis: Governor hears from Democrats

Citing out-of-control heroin-related hospital costs first detailed by The Palm Beach Post, Florida Senate Minority Leader Oscar Braynon, D-Miami Gardens, and the Florida Senate Democratic Caucus are urging Gov. Rick Scott to declare the heroin crisis a public health emergency. Heroin and fentanyl, wrote Braynon, are “wreaking widespread devastation, not only from the ravages of addiction, but...
Drug-treatment operator Kenneth Chatman expected to plead guilty

Drug-treatment operator Kenneth Chatman expected to plead guilty

Kenneth Chatman, the accused operator of a notorious drug-treatment business who allegedly pimped out female addicts, is expected to plead guilty in a federal case that accuses him of money laundering, health care fraud and sex trafficking, recently filed court records show. The documents also reveal that investigators recorded more than 100 phone calls Chatman has made in jail since his arrest in...
PBC looking to boost spending to combat heroin/opioid crisis

PBC looking to boost spending to combat heroin/opioid crisis

Palm Beach County Commissioner Hal Valeche (Staff photo/Eliot Kleinberg) Palm Beach County commissioners, opening discussions about their 2018 budget, are considering setting aside $2 million to combat the ongoing heroin/opioid crisis.
Heroin crisis: County commissioner “disappointed” by Governor’s lack of “urgency”

Heroin crisis: County commissioner “disappointed” by Governor’s lack of “urgency”

A week after asking Gov. Rick Scott to declare a public health emergency over the opioid crisis, Palm Beach County Commissioner Melissa McKinlay said Thursday she was “pretty disappointed” with the response she received from Scott’s office earlier this week.
Addiction treatment center raided; husband and wife arrested

Addiction treatment center raided; husband and wife arrested

A husband and wife who operate a drug treatment center and sober homes were arrested on Thursday and charged with depositing checks payable to a doctor who did not work for them into their companies’ accounts. James Durkin, 37, was charged with 13 counts of forgery. His wife, Jaclyn Sue Durkin, 29, of Boca Raton, was charged with two counts of forgery. Although the checks were made out to a...
JUST IN: West Boca nurse admits to stealing drugs from operating room

JUST IN: West Boca nurse admits to stealing drugs from operating room

A surgical nurse at West Boca Medical Center is facing charges that he stole powerful controlled substances from the facility’s operating room, according to an arrest report. Stacey Loy Lawhorn of Delray Beach is facing 44 counts of possession of a controlled substance without a prescription and one count each of fraud and larceny between $300 and $5,000. Lawhorn, 50, is being held at the Palm...
Boca Raton treatment center owner charged with patient brokering

Boca Raton treatment center owner charged with patient brokering

UPDATE: A judge set bond on Thursday at $75,000 for James Tomasso, a drug treatment owner with two prior fraud convictions and 25 new charges of patient brokering. However, before Tomasso can post bail, he must prove at a court hearing Friday that money to be used to get out of jail did not come from illegal activities. Tomasso, 57, was arrested on Wednesday after the Palm Beach County Sober Home...
Bills urge help for addicts in ERs and prompt RX drug reporting

Bills urge help for addicts in ERs and prompt RX drug reporting

Pharmacists and doctors who participate in the state’s prescription drug monitoring program would be required to report every prescription they fill for opiates and other controlled substances within 24 hours under a bill introduced on Friday. HB 557 was filed by Rep. Nicholas Duran, D-Miami. There is no companion bill in the Senate.  Currently, pharmacists and doctors who participate...
Families affected by opioid epidemic can strategize with officials

Families affected by opioid epidemic can strategize with officials

Two local elected officials — each with their own personal connections to the opioid crisis — are co-hosting a meeting next month for families who have lost loved ones to the heroin epidemic. “I hope we see families that would like to partner with us and be vocal advocates in trying to make change,” said Palm Beach County Commissioner Melissa McKinlay, who is teaming up with...

POINT OF VIEW: We need community-based solutions to fight drug abuse

If you think drug misuse and abuse doesn’t affect the business community, think again. From 2000 to 2010 there was a dramatic increase in opioid addiction statewide, with Broward County having the highest number of consequences. Unfortunately, the problem still persists today with 401 hospital admissions for opioid overdoses in Broward County during 2013, the most current reporting year. Among...

State preparing to battle opioid crisis

One after another, politicians, policy makers, police and scientists stepped up to a podium during a news conference in Tallahassee on Wednesday and tried to find words to reflect the dire state of Florida’s opioid crisis. “This is truly, after 33 years of tracking drug trends in the state of Florida, the most rapidly rising and critical crisis in our lifetime and in the history of Florida...
Man cleared of Chick-fil-a murder faces controversial heroin charge

Man cleared of Chick-fil-a murder faces controversial heroin charge

More than two years ago, Jesse Miller stood outside the Palm Beach County Courthouse, breathed in his first breaths as a free man in more than seven years and remembered as he looked up to the sky that the investigator who arrested him on murder charges told him he’d be behind bars forever. Fast forward to last September, when Miller, the now 34-year-old who was once convicted but eventually...
Despite losing grant, health district will help addicts with treatment

Despite losing grant, health district will help addicts with treatment

A month after learning it would not receive an $8.2 million grant to provide drug treatment to wean addicts off heroin, the Palm Beach County Health Care District is quickly moving forward with a scaled down version of its original plan. The taxpayer-financed district, which provides health care to the poor and uninsured, hopes to have the pilot project in place by the end of February. Efforts...
NEW: Charter school teacher arrested in class faces drug charges

NEW: Charter school teacher arrested in class faces drug charges

A third-grade teacher in Port St. Lucie was arrested Monday after police found syringes and used heroin capsules in his possession at school, according to an arrest report. Patrick John McLaughlin, 27, is facing two counts of possession of drug paraphernalia and is being held in the St. Lucie County Jail. » Download our PostNOW app to get the latest Breaking News Police received a tip that McLaughlin...
Woman charged in sober home crackdown takes deal, avoids prison

Woman charged in sober home crackdown takes deal, avoids prison

The only woman — and youngest — of 11 people charged with patient brokering at a Boynton Beach treatment center pleaded guilty to the charges on Monday, the first case disposed of since the Sober Home Task Force began making arrests in October. Amanda LaFrance, 25, pleaded guilty to four counts of patient brokering, all felonies, and one count of attempted patient brokering, a misdemeanor...

Sober home report calls for more regulation, stricter enforcement

The Palm Beach County Sober Home Task Force overseen by State Attorney Dave Aronberg has submitted its final report to the Legislature. As The Post reported on Dec. 20, the report calls for more oversight of sober homes, licensing of so-called “marketers” and enforcement measures to help police. “Our primary goal is to protect the vulnerable patients who have been abused by unscrupulous...
Heroin crisis hits most age groups hard; already deadlier than gun homicides

Heroin crisis hits most age groups hard; already deadlier than gun homicides

CDC graphic A fresh report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that heroin overdose deaths have quickly increased across five age groups between 15 and 64.
Heroin task force launches 2 initiatives, contemplates needle exchange

Heroin task force launches 2 initiatives, contemplates needle exchange

After a seemingly late and slow start over the summer, efforts of the Palm Beach County Heroin Task Force are gaining traction and support — with two major initiatives poised to launch this month. At a task force meeting on Thursday, task force leaders said a pilot program aimed at providing immediate detox and treatment for addicts who have overdosed and are taken to a hospital emergency...
BREAKING: 11th arrest made in local sober home crackdown

BREAKING: 11th arrest made in local sober home crackdown

The operator of a sober home in Boynton Beach was arrested on Wednesday and charged with patient brokering — the 11th arrest made by the Palm Beach County Sober Home Task Force since October. Leonard Reginald Dobard, 49, owner of House of Chance at 309 SE 36th Ave. in Boynton Beach, accepted 10 checks totalling $3,102 from Whole Life Recovery for enrolling residents living in his sober home...
Lawmakers cite Post’s investigation as motive for change

Lawmakers cite Post’s investigation as motive for change

Local lawmakers agreed on Wednesday to cross the aisle and work together on passing legislation to address the opioid crisis and corruption in sober homes. During a brief presentation at a meeting of the Palm Beach County Commission and its Legislative Delegation, Democratic Senator Jeff Clemens of Lake Worth urged his colleagues to support a bill soon to be proposed by Republican Rep. Bill Hager...
Boynton continues temporary ban on new sober homes

Boynton continues temporary ban on new sober homes

Boynton Beach is continuing its six-month ban on new group homes including sober homes, and on Tuesday gave residents a chance to speak out against the move. But no one did. The city commissioners first approved the moratorium Dec. 6. The city’s staff requested the halt to have time to review the updated guidelines pertaining to group homes released Nov. 10 by the federal departments of Justice...
Post’s sober home, heroin coverage kickstarts official action

Post’s sober home, heroin coverage kickstarts official action

In 2016, officials took the first steps to clean up the fraud-ridden addiction treatment industry and curb the alarming rise of lives cut short by heroin-related overdoses. Every level of government — local, state and federal — acted after The Palm Beach Post’s 18 months of exclusive reporting on the addiction treatment industry and its special report Nov. 20 report, Heroin...
From Donald Trump to Dalia Dippolito: Palm Beach County’s top stories

From Donald Trump to Dalia Dippolito: Palm Beach County’s top stories

The next president of the United States has a place right here. And that’s just part of a wild news year in Palm Beach County and the Treasure Coast. Here are the area’s top 10 stories, as determined, and chronicled, by Post editors and reporters, with help from statistics on how popular news stories were with readers. 1. President Trump: It’s one of the most shocking upsets in U...

POINT OF VIEW Trump should surrender the drug war

There is apparently at least one campaign promise that Donald Trump intends to keep. As he said in a New Hampshire campaign video: “No drugs are coming in. We’re gonna build a wall. You know what I’m talking about. You have confidence in me. Believe me, I will solve the problem.” Thus far, Trump’s actions match his rhetoric. He has tapped two bona fide drug warriors for...
Evidence of sex slavery cited to keep treatment center owner jailed

Evidence of sex slavery cited to keep treatment center owner jailed

After one woman went to police about notorious drug treatment center owner Kenny Chatman, she said his employees took her away in a van and gave her a choice: sign something recanting her statement, or be killed. Investigators last week found evidence backing up her claim. In Chatman’s office safe was her signed statement, witnessed by a notary, according to a Tuesday court filing signed...
Post heroin report named one of 2016’s best works of journalism in U.S.

Post heroin report named one of 2016’s best works of journalism in U.S.

The Palm Beach Post’s special report, Heroin: Killer of a Generation, has been named one of the top 15 works of journalism from across the country by the profession’s top trade magazine, Columbia Journalism Review. The magazine praised The Post for doing the “heavy lift” of covering the growing opioid epidemic in profiling each of the 216 people who died in Palm Beach County...
Does task force Grand Jury report give whole picture of county’s sober home problem?

Does task force Grand Jury report give whole picture of county’s sober home problem?

Palm Beach County chief assistant state attorney Al Johnson, left, Congresswoman Lois Frankel, and State Attorney Dave Aronberg, right, announce that a grand jury has issued 15 recommendations to combat the opioid crisis in Palm Beach County earlier this month.
Rubio cites Post coverage, asks feds to review grand jury report

Rubio cites Post coverage, asks feds to review grand jury report

Local prosecutors hoped that state regulators would consider a Palm Beach County grand jury’s recommendations on fixing the crime-plagued sober home industry. Now, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Florida, wants the federal government to see whether the grand jury report should change laws across the country. Citing the wake-up call delivered by The Palm Beach Post’s “Heroin: Killer of a...

POINT OF VIEW Grand jury’s sober home report lacks balance

The Palm Beach Post’s Dec. 13 story, “Sober home report cites patient abuse,” accepted without question the grand jury’s “Report on the Proliferation of Fraud and Abuse in Florida’s Addiction Treatment Industry.” I believe grand juries can and do perform important functions, but they need to be “fair and balanced”. The report correctly concludes...
State vows to step up in wake of treatment center owner’s arrest

State vows to step up in wake of treatment center owner’s arrest

When felon Kenneth “Kenny” Chatman crossed the border from Mexico in November, he told U.S. Customs agents he was the owner and operator of Reflections Treatment Center and that his wife, Laura, was a “stay-at-home mom,” according to court documents.  This would be news to the state’s Department of Children and Families, which issued a license to Laura Chatman...
Rubio: Feds should consider Palm Beach County sober home fixes

Rubio: Feds should consider Palm Beach County sober home fixes

Federal officials raid a sober home at 1501 N. Federal Hwy., Lake Worth, on Dec. 21, 2016. Officials charged owner Kenny Chatman and five others with health-care fraud in an ongoing crackdown on sober homes in Palm Beach County.

POINT OF VIEW Boynton ban on group homes is unlawful

The city of Boynton Beach is calling for a total and complete shutdown of new group homes for persons with disabilities entering the city until June 1, 2017 — until their staff can figure out what is going on. The City Commission voted to have a moratorium on any group homes for persons with disabilities in the city in order to have the ability to study guidance issued by the U.S. Department...
Feds started banging on doors at 5 a.m., launching sober home raid

Feds started banging on doors at 5 a.m., launching sober home raid

Residents at the rundown, two-story apartment building at 1501 N. Federal Hwy. said federal agents surrounded the building and began banging on their doors at about 5 a.m. Wednesday. Agents questioned the residents and arrested Fransesia “Francine” Davis, the resident manager. Residents, who asked not to be identified because of their fear of sober home operator Kenneth “Kenny&rdquo...
Editorial: Statewide heroin crisis requires stronger state response

Editorial: Statewide heroin crisis requires stronger state response

By every measure, Florida is in the grip of a staggering public health emergency. Its shorthand name is heroin. And in Palm Beach County it is an epidemic more lethal than car crashes or homicides. This year has seen 406 opioid-related overdose deaths through October, according to a grand jury report released this month. “Oh my God, it is the definition of a public health emergency,” Dr...
Failure to land $10 million grant grates on sober home community

Failure to land $10 million grant grates on sober home community

Members of the Palm Beach County Sober Home Task Force were incredulous last week that the county lost out on millions of dollars of state money to fight the heroin epidemic. Chief Assistant State Attorney Al Johnson said “coffee came up my nose” when he read the news in The Palm Beach Post. Other members shook their heads or took aim at the Health Care District, the agency that asked...
How to curtail sober home abuses? Task force proposes getting tough

How to curtail sober home abuses? Task force proposes getting tough

Palm Beach County’s Sober Home Task Force unveiled its recommendations to the Legislature on Monday, focusing on giving state officials and law enforcement greater powers to police the fraud-ridden drug treatment industry. Under the proposals , the Department of Children and Family Services would be allowed to oversee some sober homes, so-called “marketers” in...
Cost of heroin epidemic tops $1 billion a year in Florida

Cost of heroin epidemic tops $1 billion a year in Florida

There is a hard-dollar cost attached to the heroin epidemic now burning through Florida: more than $1.1 billion a year in hospital charges as of October 2015, $4.1 million a day — and rising. No west coast beach side community is too upscale, no Florida Panhandle town too small for a nearby hospital to be free from the financial fallout, a Palm Beach Post analysis of statewide hospital data...
Help with heroin crisis? State says ‘No’ to $10 million grant

Help with heroin crisis? State says ‘No’ to $10 million grant

As heroin’s deadly grip tightens on Palm Beach County, the Health Care District reached out its hand to the state to assist in the growing crisis. It came back empty. The Department of Children and Families denied the Health Care District of Palm Beach County’s request for a $10 million grant to launch a new program to herd addicts into treatment when they land in hospital emergency...
Lawmakers target heroin epidemic with two bills

Lawmakers target heroin epidemic with two bills

Two Florida lawmakers have responded to the opioid epidemic with bills that would increase sentences for selling fentanyl and require hospitals to provide additional care for overdose victims. The bills are the first introduced in the Florida Legislature’s 2017 addressing the opioid epidemic. The session begins on March 7. HB 61, filed by Rep. Larry Lee, D-Port St. Lucie, requires hospitals...
Price of heroin overdose antidote Narcan rises as much as 500 percent

Price of heroin overdose antidote Narcan rises as much as 500 percent

The price of Narcan — the lifesaving heroin-overdose antidote — has skyrocketed, with one formulation rising more than 500 percent in two years, an article in the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine reported. Although Narcan first hit the market in 1971, demand has skyrocketed as the nationwide heroin epidemic worsens. And with more potent opioids on the street, the largest consumers...
Lake Worth sober home owner charged with patient brokering

Lake Worth sober home owner charged with patient brokering

The owner of a Lake Worth sober home was arrested in Broward County today on charges on patient brokering for allegedly accepting payments from a treatment center for each addict he enrolled in the center’s programs. Alex Vandervert, owner of Saje House, received $3,335 from Whole Life Recovery for providing case management services to four residents living at Saje House, according...
Heroin epidemic: $25,000 donation to help county buy overdose antidote naloxone

Heroin epidemic: $25,000 donation to help county buy overdose antidote naloxone

A private Lake Worth drug treatment center today donated $25,000 to Palm Beach County Fire Rescue to buy Narcan, a brand name for the expensive overdose antidote naloxone.

POINT OF VIEW End the stigma of addiction and treatment

Unfortunately, the stigma surrounding addiction and addiction treatment stops too many of the 24 million Americans who struggle with drugs or alcohol from getting the help they need. In fact, only 2 million seek treatment. We want to change that. That is why we recently launched the “We Do Recover” movement with the goal of saving lives by ending the stigma. We are doing this in several...
Grand jury proposes sweeping sober home industry reforms

Grand jury proposes sweeping sober home industry reforms

A three-month grand jury investigation into corruption in the drug treatment industry — believed to be the first in the country — uncovered evidence of sexual abuse, human trafficking and forced labor in addition to patient brokering and insurance fraud. The 37-page report proposes 15 sweeping proposals to change laws and increase criminal penalties for the exploitation of addicts seeking...
Price of heroin overdose antidote Narcan rises as much as 500 percent

Price of heroin overdose antidote Narcan rises as much as 500 percent

The price of Narcan – the lifesaving heroin-overdose antidote that revives the dying – has skyrocketed, with one formulation rising more than 500 percent in two years, according to an article published in the New England Journal of Medicine. Although Narcan first hit the market in 1971, demand has skyrocketed as the opioid epidemic worsens. And with more potent opioids on the street &ndash...
Frankel lends an ear to locals on opioid epidemic: ‘It’s overwhelming’

Frankel lends an ear to locals on opioid epidemic: ‘It’s overwhelming’

U.S. Rep. Lois Frankel wanted to hear about the region’s opioid epidemic so she hosted a community forum in Delray Beach on Friday. She got an earful of bad news. “It’s overwhelming,” Frankel said, shaking her head. “I don’t think most people understand this.” In Delray Beach, the heroin epidemic has gotten so bad that the chiefs of police and fire rescue...
Drug companies profit on reviving dying heroin addicts

Drug companies profit on reviving dying heroin addicts

The price of Narcan – the lifesaving heroin-overdose antidote that revives the dying – has skyrocketed, with one formulation rising more than 500 percent in two years, according to an article published Thursday in the New England Journal of Medicine.
Delray treatment center raided by Sober Home Task Force

Delray treatment center raided by Sober Home Task Force

The Palm Beach County Sober Home Task Force raided a Delray Beach treatment center on Tuesday and left with boxes sealed with evidence tape. The three-hour long raid at Chapters Recovery, formerly known as Good Future Recovery, yielded no arrests. The treatment center, located at 2230 W. Atlantic Ave., provides intensive outpatient treatment and partial hospitalization programs for addicts in early...
Patient brokering arrests: Woman, 25, youngest to be charged

Patient brokering arrests: Woman, 25, youngest to be charged

Amanda LaFrance came to Florida three years ago to get clean and sober and found herself in court Saturday facing 13 counts of patient brokering — the latest arrest by a task force tasked by the state legislature to investigate corruption in the sober-home industry. LaFrance, 25, is the only woman and the youngest of eight sober-home and treatment-center owners and operators facing multiple...
First woman arrested in sober home crackdown

First woman arrested in sober home crackdown

BREAKING: Amanda LaFrance, 25, came to Florida three years ago to get clean and found herself in court on Saturday facing 13 counts of brokering other addicts with insurance to Whole Life Recovery, a treatment center in Boynton Beach whose owner and operator faces charges of paying kickbacks for clients.
County commissioner wants to hear about those who died from overdoses

County commissioner wants to hear about those who died from overdoses

In her crusade for reforms to help curb the opioid crisis, Palm Beach County Commissioner Melissa McKinlay is seeking help from families on the front lines of the epidemic. McKinlay wants parents, siblings and friends who have lost loved ones to accidental heroin-related overdoses to share their personal stories with her in an email. She also wants to host a meeting early next year with families affected...
Drug dealer gets 30 years for selling fatal dose of fentanyl

Drug dealer gets 30 years for selling fatal dose of fentanyl

Among the reasons a federal prosecutor offered for why Christopher Massena deserved a stiff sentence for selling the drug that killed an addict — his extensive criminal history, lack of remorse and likelihood to offend again — was the message it would send to other drug dealers. “Drug dealers know about this case and they are watching,” said Assistant U.S. Attorney Jennifer...
Task force urges action to stem heroin epidemic, save lives

Task force urges action to stem heroin epidemic, save lives

After more than seven months of work, the Palm Beach County Heroin Task Force is planning to unveil in January a multi-pronged “action plan” aimed at curbing the opioid epidemic. And task force members hope a recent Palm Beach Post expose about the epidemic’s toll in Palm Beach County will help prompt county and state lawmakers to provide money for many of the plan’s programs...
Wining and opining: Boynton woman uncorks frustrations about sober homes

Wining and opining: Boynton woman uncorks frustrations about sober homes

Wine, or any alcohol, isn’t allowed in a sober home. But that doesn’t mean you can’t mention sober homes on bottles of wine.
Aronberg wants more money to continue heroin fight

Aronberg wants more money to continue heroin fight

Holding up the recent Palm Beach Post front page showing 216 people who died from heroin-related overdoses, State Attorney Dave Aronberg warned lawmakers Tuesday of the epidemic’s continuing toll. To continue his fight, he urged the Palm Beach County Legislative Delegation to renew the flow of state money to a three-pronged task force his office is running. If the $275,000 he received this year...
Aronberg warns of homeless crisis after sober home crackdown

Aronberg warns of homeless crisis after sober home crackdown

At a meeting of the Palm Beach County Legislative Delegation on Tuesday, State Attorney Dave Aronberg explained how he has spent the $275,000 lawmakers gave him to probe corruption in the drug treatment industry but warned that if the funding is not renewed, proactive efforts to combat corruption will likely end. “Our criminal investigations will continue beyond the appropriation,” Aronberg...
So many drug OD deaths, medical examiner can’t keep up with load

So many drug OD deaths, medical examiner can’t keep up with load

The skyrocketing number of overdose deaths is causing the Palm Beach County Medical Examiner’s Office to stop performing autopsies on some people who commit suicide, die in car crashes or die in hospitals. “We just don’t have the manpower,” Chief Medical Examiner Michael Bell said. “We’re just being overwhelmed.” Last year, the office investigated 332 drug...
County commissioner demanding response to heroin epidemic

County commissioner demanding response to heroin epidemic

Make naloxone, the opioid-reversal drug, available to all first responders. Expand indigent treatment options. Launch clean syringe programs. Teach kids in school about the dangers of opioids. Those are just a few of the 20 recommendations Palm Beach County officials will consider from a 50-page report drafted by a national task force of municipal and county leaders in response to the national heroin...
4th sober home arrest in 5 days: Man faces patient brokering charges

4th sober home arrest in 5 days: Man faces patient brokering charges

A Delray Beach sober home operator became the fourth arrest in five days by the Sober Home Task Force as it continues its crackdown on patient brokering in the drug treatment industry. Howard James Fowler Jr., 26, surrendered at the Palm Beach County Jail on 14 counts of patient brokering Monday afternoon. Fowler will not be released from jail until his lawyer can assure a judge and prosecutor that...
‘Enough is enough:’ County official pledges action on heroin epidemic

‘Enough is enough:’ County official pledges action on heroin epidemic

Palm Beach County Commissioner Melissa McKinlay, stunned by the recent death of her chief aide’s daughter, pledged Monday to call on local and state government leaders for reforms to help curb the opioid epidemic. “Enough is enough,” McKinlay said Monday, a day after The Palm Beach Post exposed how little is being done by government to address a problem that killed 216 people in...
Third sober-home official arrested on patient-brokering charge

Third sober-home official arrested on patient-brokering charge

The Sober Home Task Force’s crackdown on patient brokering in the drug treatment industry continued Friday with the arrest of Patrick Norquist — whose younger brother was arrested a day earlier on the same charges. The older brother was held overnight without bond at the Palm Beach County Detention Center until his attorney, Jacob Cohen, assured the prosecutor and judge that the money...
Needle claims more deaths than fatal traffic crashes and homicides.

Needle claims more deaths than fatal traffic crashes and homicides.

Read this incredible story by Palm Beach Post reporters about the heroin epidemic in Palm Beach County.  
This veteran survived Iraq but couldn’t beat heroin

This veteran survived Iraq but couldn’t beat heroin

When he returned from Iraq, Gregory Chapman couldn’t drive by roadside debris without shaking. At 19, he had been an Army Humvee driver during the time hundreds of Americans in Iraq were being killed and maimed by the roadside bombs called IEDs. For 15 terror-filled hours a day, the boy who had loved music and writing stories in high school threaded his truck down dusty roads past debris that...
Why did The Post publish pictures of those who died?

Why did The Post publish pictures of those who died?

The Palm Beach Post did not casually decide to publish the pictures and personal stories of every person in Palm Beach County who died after taking heroin, fentanyl or illicit morphine in 2015. Though most families of those who died and who spoke with The Post expressed gratitude for the decision, it will bring some others pain. But we believe that the staggering toll this epidemic is taking has been...
Heroin scourge: ‘Not a thing being done about it’

Heroin scourge: ‘Not a thing being done about it’

When people started dying in every neighborhood in Huntington, W.Va., the mayor rallied his city to come together and fight the crisis, gaining national attention. When a young man died on his parents lawn, just around the corner from the Staten Island, N.Y., district attorney’s house, the county’s top law enforcement official vowed to go after the dealers killing people in his district...