Officials with the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office (PCSO) admitted that the Tampa Bay region had an opioid problem just under a year ago. At the time, they explained how they had a big problem with residents buying powder-like concoctions off the street then dying from overdoses after consuming them. County officials noted that the number of deaths resulting from individuals doing this was at an all-time high.
The Pinellas County forensic lab’s data captured how many of the powder-like substances Tampa residents were purchasing didn’t only test positive for the potent synthetic opioid fentanyl, but also methamphetamines (meth) and cocaine. This mixture of ingredients made already-potentially harmful drugs in their own right even more deadly once mixed.
Statistics compiled by the county’s forensic lab shows that 200 individuals had already died during the first half of 2019, a sign of growth that had officials concerned about the prospect of Pinellas County easily surpassing its 323 fatal overdose rate for 2018. Data shows that at least 238 of those cases involved opioids. All but six of the decedents were white.
Surrounding counties had seen an upward trend in rates and far as prescription drug misuse fatalities were concerned at the time. Pasco County had 165 overdose deaths in 2018 and already had 96 by the first half of 2019. Hillsborough County had 235 drug-related fatalities in 2018 and had already seen 118 overdose deaths by the end of the first half of 2019. County officials note that 153 of those 235 cases resulted from fentanyl or heroin misuse.
The opioid crisis in the city and Florida, in general, is far from over. Local law enforcement agencies have become more vigilant about rounding up manufacturers, distributors and abusers of these harmful narcotics. You might want to consult with our criminal defense attorney if one of their recent sting operations resulted in your arrest. We can provide you with an exceptional defense against state and federal charges so that you can achieve the best possible results in your drug case.