Melbourne

Melbourne is a city in Brevard County, Florida, United States. As of the 2010 census, the population was approximately 76,000. Melbourne is located approximately 60 miles southeast of Orlando on the Space Coast, along Interstate 95. It is midway between Jacksonville and Miami. Orlando Melbourne International Airport is located near the center of the city.

Melbourne Beachside has a small presence on the South Beaches barrier island. The city of Melbourne is often confused with Melbourne Beach, which is a separate political entity.

Also known by its nickname, “The Harbor City,” Melbourne is the second-largest city in the county, both by size and population. One of the reasons for its large size is that, in 1969, Melbourne merged with nearby Eau Gallie.

Melbourne began supporting the Eau Gallie Arts District as an officially recognized Main Street in 2010.

Melbourne has two downtown business districts, a result of the merger of Eau Gallie into Melbourne, Historic Downtown Melbourne and Downtown Eau Gallie Arts District (EGAD).

Established in 1860 along the Indian River, the arts district has seen success in redeveloping the community of art galleries, shops, restaurants, and Melbourne’s first microbrewery. The district also contains the city civic center and public library with a public pier, as well as Foosaner Art Museum and Historic Rossetter House and Gardens, Pineapple Park, and a community park and band shell.

The Melbourne City Council consists of a mayor and six district council members to govern under a Council-Manager form of government. As of 2009, the city had 870 full-time employees and 176 part-time employees.

Melbourne is home to a handful of defense and technology companies with a high concentration of tech employees. The following corporations have operations in Melbourne:

     DRS Technologies

     Alstom Signaling Operations Transportation Systems

     Harris Corporation

     Northrop Grumman

     Rockwell Collins

     Ares Defense

The area has four hospitals, day care for senior citizens, hospice, walk-in, and urgent care facilities. These include the Holmes Regional Medical Center, Wuesthoff Medical Center Melbourne Campus, and Kindred Hospital. A new Viera hospital was opened in May 2011.

Colleges and universities in Melbourne include Eastern Florida State College, Everest University, the Florida Institute of Technology, Florida State University (satellite campus), Keiser University – Melbourne, the University of Central Florida’s Regional Campus, and Webster University (Patrick Air Force Base Campus).

Brevard County and Drugs

The opioid epidemic has ravaged Florida over the past few years, and Titusville has not been spared. With a 17.3 overdose death rate, Brevard County had 1,645 overdose deaths between 1999 and 2016. Those living in Brevard County were 44 percent more likely to die by drug overdose than the average American.

There are eight counties in central Florida that qualify as High-Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTAs), under the U.S. Congressional Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1988. This means that the county is a significant center of illegal drug manufacturing, production, importation, and distribution. It also means that the county’s law enforcement agencies have spent resources responding to drug trafficking issues and that drug-related activities have impacted the area. The HIDTAs include:

     Brevard

     Hillsborough

     Orange

     Osceola

     Pinellas

     Polk

     Seminole

     Volusia

Fentanyl has had a presence in Brevard County since at least 2015. In July of that year, the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office warned the public that the drug could be too powerful even for consistent heroin or opioid users.

The drug, which went by such street names as “jackpot,” “Apache,” and “goodfella,” circulates among the Cape Canaveral and Merritt Island areas.

Responses to the opioid crisis are taking place at the state level of government. A law signed by Florida Gov. Rick Scott in March 2018 sets aside more than $50 million for enhanced opioid treatment, law enforcement response, and supplies of a life-saving overdose reversal drug. It is Florida’s first piece of legislation to address the ongoing opioid epidemic.

Meanwhile, the state of Florida prescribes 10 times more oxycodone pills than all other states combined, according to the U.S. Department of Justice. To put it another way, no less than 85 percent of oxy pills sold in the U.S. can be traced back to Florida.

While Florida saw a year-to-year drop in its prescription drug rate from 2010 to the present day, the Sunshine State still ranks high for drug and alcohol abuse, as evidenced by the number of overdose deaths over the last few years.

A significant increase in the number of drug overdoses occurred in Florida from 2015 to 2016, where the state experienced a 46 percent year-to-year increase, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. There were 4,721 drug overdose deaths in 2016, the most of any state in the country. The top five counties in Florida with the most drug or alcohol overdoses from 2014 to 2016 were:

     Palm Beach (1,142)

     Brevard (1,032)

     Duval (717)

     Miami-Dade (643)

     Pinellas (638)

 

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