By Ryan Dailey, The News Service of Florida
QUINCY — State and local authorities are working “feverishly” to fight the distribution of fentanyl in Florida after a string of overdose deaths over the weekend rocked the rural community of Gadsden County.
Nine deaths in the county are suspected to have been caused by fentanyl, likely involving people using other drugs that were laced with the potent synthetic opioid. Gadsden County Sheriff Morris Young said emergency responders were called to 19 overdoses over a four-day span.
“For Gadsden County to have that number in such a short span, we were afraid that we’d wake up in a week’s time and have 30 to 40, 50 people dead. That’s a lot of folks for Gadsden County. We only have 46,000 people here,” Young told reporters during a press conference Thursday. “We’re searching for answers.”
First Lady Casey DeSantis joined Young and other state and local officials at Thursday’s meeting to address the issue. DeSantis announced that the state is ramping up messaging as part of efforts to prevent future mass overdoses.
Florida will launch a statewide public advisory campaign about the dangers of fentanyl, which has become the leading cause of death for people ages 18 to 45 in the U.S., according to a news release from the governor’s office.
“Education is so important to get, especially to our youth. A call to action, if they themselves are using drugs or if they know of somebody in their family that’s using,” DeSantis said Thursday.
As Gadsden law enforcement officers pursue the people Young accused of having “poisoned” county residents with fentanyl, the spate of overdoses over the Fourth of July weekend also grabbed the attention of state and federal officials. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency is assisting with the investigation of the overdoses, the sheriff said.
In a county that lacks resources for helping drug users kick their habit, Gadsden also is counting on the increased use of the overdose-reversal drug naloxone to help prevent situations like the one that played out over the weekend. Commonly known by its brand name, Narcan, the state Department of Children and Families is distributing 200 kits to treat overdoses in the county.
Florida Department of Health Secretary Joseph Ladapo, who also serves as the state surgeon general, explained why fentanyl is behind the deaths of so many unsuspecting users.
“Fentanyl is synthetic. So if you think about the opioids … that have been around for a long time, or the ones that people have historically used or even abused, usually you think in terms of milligrams. Small quantities, that’s kind of the dosage. Fentanyl is dosed in micrograms. So, that’s a thousand (times) less, in terms of weight,” Ladapo said Thursday. “It’s just incredibly potent.”
A significant part of the fight against fentanyl involves combatting the counterfeiting of drugs, said Mark Glass, acting commissioner of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.
Thirty percent of the drugs that have come through the department’s lab for testing have been counterfeit narcotics, Glass said. The counterfeit drugs can mimic prescription pills and contribute to accidental overdoses.
The level of counterfeit drugs on the street is “higher than it was before,” Glass said. The trend coincides with an increasing number of deaths caused by opioids, he said.
In the first six months of 2021, opioids caused the death of 4,140 people — a roughly six percent increase from the first half of the previous year, according to Glass.
“We’re watching the trend move up,” Glass said. “Because it’s … coinciding with the southwest border. More contraband is coming through. Therefore, you’re probably going to see more spiking.”
State lawmakers during the 2022 legislative session took aim at fentanyl traffickers in an effort to curtail the growing problem. A new state law (HB 95), signed by Gov. Ron DeSantis in May and slated to go into effect in October, will increase mandatory minimum sentences for people found guilty of trafficking the drug.
Under the law, the sentence for trafficking four to 14 grams of fentanyl would go from three to seven years. Trafficking 14 to 28 grams of fentanyl would increase from 15 to 20 years.
Glass, who said the increased penalties could be another tool to combat fentanyl on the enforcement side, said officials are working “feverishly” to control the problem.
Asked whether street-level dealers are knowingly selling drugs that are laced with the potentially deadly fentanyl, Glass said it’s a “yes and no” answer.
“It’s all about profit. ‘What can I make? And if I can cut the opioid down and put the fentanyl in it … and then have that synthetic piece to increase the high, and I can make it cheaper.’ … We know they’re shipping it from China. You can order it. Sometimes it comes through from the southwest (U.S.-Mexico) border,” Glass said.
Pretty sure the FBI or CIA know exactly where the fentanyl stash houses are in Mexico.
If I were President News Maven, I would BOMB them with B1-B Lancers.
With no advance warning.
End of problem.
We could always demand that the DC R&D Establishment Swamp do its job and present formal Articles of Impeachment against the Illegitimated and Dementia Patient Resident for his treasonous Dereliction of Duty with his “Invade and Destroy America At-Will” border policy.
Bombs and bullets are not the only way to destroy a country… drugs and disease take a little longer, but ultimately achieve the same result. Make no mistake about it; THIS is intentional and part of their plan to collapse our Republic.
There has been a project Alpha update. The name of the company was provided. Towards the end of the article it mentions other cities are being considered. That should have been the headline.
Also, what lacks credibility is that it was written by TaMaryn Waters. As we all know Ms Waters is a PR rep for The Usual Suspects posing as a reporter. Back when the disjointed Dispatch Center was at a crisis due to mishandling calls Ms Waters was reporting on making Caesar salads with Gary Yordon.
Also, Ms Waters uses the Greater Tallahassee Chamber of Commerce Sue Dick as a source. Another PR rep for The Usual Suspects.
I believe the Dailey campaign is desperate as the they mayor’s Performing Arts Center did not work out. So, Alpha is the leading publicity stunt at the moment.
Remember they don’t want you to know that other cities are in consideration, there is a problem with the company getting financing, and if the mayor can’t run the garbage trucks competently I don’t see much hope with a airplane disassembly plant coming to Tallahassee.
Where are more candidate articles from the Tallahassee Reports and what happened to the candidate forum that was supposed to be covered by the Tallahassee Democrat yesterday?
If someone does not take illegal drugs, there is absolutely no chance of a Fentanyl overdose.
Never forget. This solidly blue enclave of Leon County, Gadsden County, the City of Tallahassee and the City of Quincy and their leaders fully and publically endorsed Joe Biden. The LEADERS! They took time off of work to endorse this doddering old fool and his stoned out running mate. But, hey, Trump.
Joe Biden left the southern border open for the Mexican drug cartels to flood the streets of The United States of America with Chinese fentanyl.
But look! Squirrel! Men can have babies, wear a mask, it was the gun, greedy corporation! Ukraine, Putin! Wake UP!
Let people risk using strange substances if they want. It’ll solve itself.
Thank you Trafficker in Chief Biden!
Yet another fine mess we are beginning to lose count.. Afghanistan, open borders, Hunter Biden, price of gas, inflation, stock market down, crime up, supply chain disruption, Iran, uncontrolled borders, fentanyl crisis, Russian invasion of the Ukraine, etc.
Biden has gone from impeachable offenses, to treason, to crimes against humanity.
The red tsunami will be here soon to wash it all away.
When you voted for the tired old man, Biden, to be your President, you bought into this problem. Biden said he would, and did, open the border to unlimited illegal immigration and thus allowed drugs to flow in at an unlimited rate. China owns Biden. China makes Fentanyl and they expect to export all they want to the U.S. because they have given Biden Millions. The border is open to anyone and everyone no matter what drugs, criminals and government dependents want into Our Country.
Next, blame Mayor John Dailey. To say he is soft on crime is an understatement. When you let criminals get away with breaking the law over and over again, you deserve the credit for the fentanyl problem. Along with Kristin Dozier. She has been around long enough to recognize the problem and to have done something about IF SHE HAD WANTED TO. Keep on handing out “civil citations” and see what that gets you…it gets you a fentanyl problem, rising murder rates and home invasions.
The City and County Commissioners, and the Gadsden County Commissioners and Sheriff Young either knew of, or should have known of, the fentanyl problem. What, they don’t have cable TV? They let the criminal off the hook with just a slap on the wrist. What did they think the long term consequences of being weak on crime would result in? Look at the last armed home invasion in Gadsden Co…the criminal tried twice to break in. Why did that piece of $h1t think his behavior was acceptable? Because that is the way we live in “da hood” and the Judge isn’t going to give an any real time. The tax payer will cover his legal expenses.
Get use to crime. It isn’t going anywhere in Leon and Gadsden County because to do something about it means to lose voter support amongst the black community. Be real about it.
Just yesterday a liberal ivy league professor told Josh Hawley that men can get pregnant. Pass me some of what she is smoking. How in the world did anyone become to believe this nonsense? So folks, crime is rising. In 20 years, you will look back on today and say…”those were the good old days”.
Take the gloves off and solve the problem or live with it. For conservatives, my advice is do not count on the cops to protect you. When seconds count, the cops are only an hour away. How Tallahassee became to be run by a bunch of Lib-tards is beyond me.
I have heard it said that elections have consequences and the 16,153 or 68% of voters in Gadsden County who voted for Joe Biden are getting the open borders through which these drugs flow…so, how’s that vote for Biden working for you?
Since the Fentanyl is intentionally being allowed in by The Biden Administration with the illegals at our Southern Border it is helpfull for leftists planning to vote in the mid terms to think of the massive Fentanyl deaths as nothing but the most latest and so far the longest term abortions.
Leftists were already conditioned wtih the shorter term long term abortions by their babies that succumbed to the “baby formula shortage” so it has not really been a streach for those planning to vote in the mid terms to keep voting Democrat. After all if we just think of those deaths as “just abortions” it seems to be OK. Because abortion is good. Right?