New Market of Prescription Pill Dealers?
It's happening everywhere, but it is by far the worst in Florida. Prescription pill drug abuse has become an epidemic. A team has been formed to combat the problem. Seven sheriffs throughout Florida have been chosen to head the strike force, which will be a joint effort between State and local agencies. While the problem is most severe in South Florida, North Central Florida is no stranger to the activity. Sheriff Sadie Darnell points out a startling statistic; more oxycodone is distributed illegally in Florida than in all other states combined.
Darnell says, "It's a huge problem in South Florida, it's coming in to Central Florida up here, but up here in North Central Florida, it's not so much of a problem but by goodness, we're going to be out there doing everything we can to stop it from spreading into this region."
Prescription drug abuse has been on the rise for years, but what happened in Lake City Wednesday raised some eyebrows to a new market of dealers in parts of North Central Florida; the elderly with access to a whole lot of prescription pills.
Captain John Blanchard of Lake City Police says, "Then there's another fraction of people that have these illnesses and access to these drugs then then sell them to supplement their income and it's very lucrative."
Lake City Police responded to a 9-1-1 call where Sonny Jenkins claimed to be the victim of a robber of his prescription pills. The victim fired two shots at the alleged intruder, who we later discovered from the victims sister, was his friend.
Jennie Jarrell says, "I don't know if I should say what all happened. I know he went to visit a friend and they had an altercation. The guy shot him and the guy shot himself."
Then there was a passerby, who didn't want to be identified.
"It just has to be a drug sales going on. In five minutes time, there was three different cars that come up here and run in and come back out in no time at all. In the last month, I've seen a lot of people go in there.
The notion of older people dealing out their prescriptions for extra income is new to Sheriff Darnell. It's all part of what the strike force will combat.
Sheriff Darnell says, "The sheriff's along with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement are planning to unite and focus on the problem.
Sheriffs Darnell says of the 800,000 unused grant dollars for "Strike Force," North Central Florida is getting 100,000. Lake City Police are still interviewing witnesses before they make any arrests.
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