ubstance abuse crosses all economic, social and demographic boundaries; tragically impacting individuals and their families. The illegal prescribing and sales of prescription drugs, and drug abuse is a challenge that affects our entire community. By applying pressure through enforcement, and by providing resources for education and treatment, the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office is “Leading The Way For A Safer Pinellas.”
Drugs that are considered to be legal, such as prescription or over-the-counter medications can be just as dangerous as illegal drugs when misused. The Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office has taken aggressive measures to investigate and arrest those who illegally sell or obtain prescription drugs. The Sheriff’s Narcotics Division has been recognized statewide and nationally for its enforcement efforts. Partnerships with state and federal investigators have been very effective in successfully curtailing the illegal sale of prescription drugs in Pinellas County. Locally, the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office has established drop-off locations for unused or out of date prescription drugs as part of the Operation Medicine Cabinet program.
This web page provides information on the signs of abuse, overdose and links to treatment resources, especially the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Association."
Methamphetamine is a stimulant which can be produced on a small scale through the diversion of over-the-counter medications containing pseudoephedrine. The production of methamphetamine, or “cooking,” requires common cold medicines containing pseudoephedrine, volatile organic compounds, acids, bases, solvents, and other “ingredients.” While the September 2015 Behavioral Health Trends in the United States indicates the percentage of active methamphetamine users has remained similar to most years between 2002 and 2013, the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office has seen an increase in methamphetamine lab investigations from 2011 through 2015.
Synthetic drugs, also known as K2, Spice, Bath Salts, etc. are selling at alarming rates and can wreak havoc in our community. The synthetic class of drugs can have a multitude of different chemicals included in their production and consumption can lead to unpredictable and dangerous behavior. Another type of synthetic drug known as Flakka, can cause severe health problems and death. "On a scale of one to 10, Flakka is a 12. It comes from a place where we don't know how it's being made, who's making it, and what's been added to it before it reaches the end user so it's very dangerous," said a Lieutenant with the Sheriff’s Narcotics Division. The Division’s focus is to identify new drug trends and investigation of illegal narcotics activities.
Heroin has seen a resurgence in popularity in recent years. An October 21, 2015 White House press release indicates that heroin related drug overdoses have nearly doubled between 2011 and 2013, a clear sign of the rise in heroin usage. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s report Trends in Heroin Use in the United States: 2002 to 2013, the number of heroin users was higher in 2013 than a decade ago and the number of people aged 12 or older who received treatment for heroin use nearly doubled in that same time.
The Sheriff’s Office is involved in a number of community partnerships; with NOPE, Live Free, local pharmacists and physicians to provide information to citizens and caregivers about drug abuse in general as well as the proper dispensing and disposing of prescription drugs. Education programs associated with NOPE and Live Free are presented to local schools and community groups on a continuing basis.
Treatment is a critical element of this equation. This web page provides information on the signs of abuse, overdose and links to treatment resources, especially the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Association. To download the Safety Advice for Patients & Family Members toolkit, click here.