The statistics are alarming. Every 32 hours in Pinellas County, someone dies of a drug overdose. In 2010, 280 people died of accidental drug overdoses. 249 of these deaths were due to abuse of prescription pain medication.
The Pinellas County Board of County Commissioners has enacted a moratorium on the opening of any new pain management clinics until they can be fully researched and recommendations studied. The ordinance requires all existing clinics to obtain permitting, which includes proof of licensing. The Department of Justice and Consumer Services sponsored the ordinance. It is the regulatory agency that oversees permitting of pain management clinics, supports law enforcement efforts and conducts public outreach.
The Countywide Diversion Task Force is working with local, state and federal law enforcement agencies to arrest dealers, close pill mills and stop prescription fraud. The Sheriff’s Office operates Operation Medicine Cabinet, a program that was started to offer the public a way to safely dispose of unused prescription medicines.
Fighting Back Videos
A new, four-part series on Pinellas County Connection Television called Fighting Back Against Prescription Drug Abuse profiles the extent of the problem in Pinellas County and what local officials are doing to combat the issue through law enforcement, local ordinances and public education.
- Part 1--Fighting Back Against Prescription Drug Abuse
Guests Pinellas Sheriff Bob Gualtieri and Director of Pinellas County Department of Justice and Consumer Services Tim Burns relate local efforts to control illicit drug pill mills.
- Part 2--Fighting Back With Public Outreach
Guests Laurie Serra, cofounder of the Pinellas Chapter of Narcotics Overdose Prevention and Education (NOPE) and Jackie Griffin from Operation PAR and the Live Free Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition discuss public education efforts to enlighten parents and young people to the dangers of prescription drug abuse.
- Part 3--Fighting Back Against Synthetic Drugs
Guests Dr. Cynthia Lewis-Younger from Tampa General Hospital and Judge Dee Anna Farnell of Pinellas County’s Drug Court talk about the dangers of synthetic drugs and the legal problems associated with their control.
- Part 4--Fighting Back With Proper Drug Disposal
Guests Sgt. Dan Zsido from the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office and Jan Tracy from Pinellas County Solid Waste explain safe ways to dispose of prescription medication including the county’s Operation Medicine Cabinet initiative.
Connect with our partner agencies for more information on fighting back against prescription drug abuse:
- NOPE, Pinellas Chapter
The Narcotic Overdose Prevention and Education Task Force, Pinellas County chapter, is headed up by parents who lost children to unintentional drug overdose. Members bring their stark message to schools and community groups. They also organize public events to heighten awareness and support family and friends who have lost loved ones to drug abuse.
- LiveFree! Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition of Pinellas County
- Office of National Drug Control Policy
- Lock Your Meds
National multi-media campaign, with support materials for outreach.
- Pinellas County Health Department
- 2-1-1 Tampa Bay Cares Inc.
To locate or offer help.
- Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office
To report the illegal sale or distribution of prescription drugs call the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office (877) 792-2873 (RXABUSE)
Please feel free to email us with any questions or concerns about Pinellas County’s Fighting Back Against Prescription Drug Abuse program.