Drugs are the number one killer of adults in the United States. Drug deaths have increased over the years from 174,000 (1968-1999) to over 932,000 (1999-2020) in a much shorter time frame. The opioid crisis will kill more than half a million people by 2032 due to the deadly opioid fentanyl. Around 107,300 people died in the 12-month period ending January 31, 2022, at a rate of 294 deaths per day!
Today many drugs are laced with fentanyl to increase its potency or to disguise it as highly potent heroin. Fentanyl was originally developed as a surgical painkiller. Buying street drugs today from Xanax to cocaine to heroin is a dangerous gamble as most contain fentanyl. Manufactured in China , Mexico, and India, fentanyl enters the U.S. through drug cartels at our southern border or through regular mail delivery. So it has been difficult to monitor these shipments.
In 2021, the Citrus County Sheriff Office (CCSO) with the U.S. Marshals Service TaskForce handled 228 drug trafficking cases which led to 191 arrests. $416,000 valued drugs were taken off our streets in Citrus County. In U.S. prisons, 85% of inmates are drug abusers or committed a crime involving drugs.
Certain states advocate legalization of all drugs since the addict is treated like a criminal when he should be receiving help. Under this ides, drug use and violent crimes would increase. The "Black Market" would not end under legalization. With the legalization of marijuana, the "black market" turn to more deadly drugs for their market. More addicts means a strain on the healthcare system. Changing public attitudes and treatment prevention is where we need to focus. Negative drug use messages must be taught from a young age.
Our CCSO is diligent in stopping drug crimes in Citrus County and spreading the message. The Prescription Drug Take Back Program allows the drop off of unwanted prescription drug medications – no questions asked at Main Operations Building in Inverness and Emergency Operations Center in Lecanto. These outdated medicines are susceptible to misuse and abuse. There is a high rate of accidental poisonings in this country due to prescription drug abuse. The CCSO is alert in crimes from traffic violations to burglaries which may in some way be tied to drug trafficking and drug use. The War on Crime involves prosecution, education, and rehabilitation. It will take years to win this battle.