Fentanyl overdoses on the rise as leaders host roundtable in Gadsden County

Staying ahead of fentanyl overdoses
Published: Jul. 7, 2022 at 7:42 PM EDT|Updated: Jul. 7, 2022 at 9:59 PM EDT
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) -State and local officials sounding the alarm and searching for ways to address the crisis after a rash of deaths in Gadsden County are believed to be linked to fentanyl.

The County Sheriff, FDLE, DCF and even Florida’s first lady holding a roundtable in Quincy Thursday morning.

Gadsden County Sheriff Morris Young said that overdoses related to fentanyl were never on his radar prior to the deaths of eight people in Gadsden County in the first five days of July.

In response, he treated this like any other disaster by calling on the state for help.

“Gadsden was not prepared for this, I mean it hit us like a ton of bricks,” said Gadsden County Sheriff Morris Young.

There were about 20 sporadic overdoses in Gadsden County last year, Sheriff Morris Young said, not nearly as much then in just the first five days of July, when the number of overdoses matched more than half that with at least eight dead and 10 hospitalized for fentanyl overdose.

“I want to give a shout-out to the families that have lost someone to this horrific poison and we’re standing for those families,” the sheriff said.

The sheriff said standing with the families also means going after those dealing the dangerous drugs.

“We’re trying to focus on it from a law enforcement standpoint on illegal drugs and then look at the health part what is fentanyl and what is it doing when you lace it with other drugs,” Young said.

First Lady Casey DeSantis announced a new statewide public health messaging advisory that will focus on preventing abuse of opioids and on providing resources for those recovering from an overdose.

“You could have the greatest program in the world but if nobody knows that it exists then what good is it,” First Lady Casey DeSantis said. “So as I’m listening to you talk and the agencies talk about all the resources they have at their disposal, which you can even call a hotline and you can even get a navigator to help you find what’s available in the community that’s free of charge.”

FDLE Acting Commissioner Mark Glass said this is not only a law enforcement issue, this is everyone’s issue pointing out the potency and danger of fentanyl even beyond those who use it.

“It can affect your mom, dad, or anyone else that is around or just being in a spot where they had a dangerous amount of fentanyl sitting there you touch it and it can kill you or inhale it, ingest it,” said FDLE Acting Commissioner Mark Glass.

DCF also delivered 200 boxes of Narcan nasal spray in Gadsden county.

All Gadsden County Sheriff’s Deputies will now be equipped with the medicine that reverses the effects of fentanyl and other opioids.

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