Titusville is the county seat of Florida’s Brevard County. The city's population approximately 46,000 as of the 2017 United States Census. Located on the Indian River, west of Merritt Island and the Kennedy Space Center, Titusville is a principal city of the Palm Bay–Melbourne–Titusville Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA).
Brevard County is one of the larger hubs of Florida’s Atlantic Coast population. The county includes Cape Canaveral, Cocoa Beach, Melbourne, Palm Bay, Satellite Beach, Titusville, and West Melbourne. The county has the sixth-highest crude death rate for drug overdoses in Florida.
Titusville is run by a council-manager government. The elected city council serves as the legislative branch, while the appointed city manager carries out policies defined by the council. The city is governed according to a charter adopted in 1963.
Titusville is the only place on Earth where the endangered Dicerandra thinicola, or “Titusville mint” grows. Fields of Titusville mint are located along a 13-mile strip between the Titusville wellfield and Mims.
Titusville’s modern era began in the late 1950s, with the growth of Cape Canaveral and, later, the Kennedy Space Center on Merritt Island. The city’s association with the U.S. space program led to the city’s two nicknames: Space City USA and Miracle City.
The A. Max Brewer Bridge, a 65-foot fixed high-level span on SR-406 connecting Titusville to the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge and Canaveral National Seashore, opened on February 5, 2011, replacing the former swing bridge built back in 1949.
In January 2013, the Miracle City Mall closed, a victim of the declining economy as a result of the termination of the Space Shuttle program in 2012. In response to these doldrums, Brevard County’s population center moved south out of Titusville. Over the better part of the last decade, Titusville has reported a high unemployment rate.
Many of Titusville’s major employers continue to be aerospace companies. Knight’s Armament Company in Titusville is believed to be the state’s largest manufacturer of small arms. Parrish Medical Center, located in Titusville, is the city’s largest employer. In October 2013, Barn Light Electric Company opened a new manufacturing plant, which meant work for at least 60 former NASA employees.
Parrish Medical Center, originally established as North Brevard Hospital in 1958, is the hospital that serves Titusville and is one of the largest employers in the state. Other top employers include Boeing, Knight Enterprises Management, Walmart, Publix, and United Space Alliance.
The U.S. Space Walk of Fame, located in Titusville, is the first and only Walk in the nation honoring America’s astronauts, as well as the men and women behind the scenes who helped the U.S. lead the world in space exploration.
In the 2017 Census, Titusville’s racial breakdown was 75 percent white non-Hispanic or Latino, 14 percent African American, 6 percent Hispanic or Latino, and 3 percent Asian.
There were 19,200 households in Titusville, averaging 2.3 persons per household. Over 90 percent of people in Titusville were high school graduates, and 23 percent held a Bachelor’s degree or higher. The median household income in Titusville as of 2017 was $41,656, and per capita income in 2016 was $24,326.
Drugs in Titusville and Beyond
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 due to drug overdose than the average American.
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.