Eighty-three, the eye-opening number of overdoses in Charlotte County since January. This number includes 13 heartbroken families who have suffered the loss of a loved one to addiction within that same time frame.
Over my career I have seen how drugs have destroyed individuals, families, neighborhoods.
As your Sheriff, it has always been a priority of mine, and my staff, to clean up our community of illegal drugs and dealers; but also strive to give those who are struggling with addiction, a way out. We understand that a portion of the crime within the community is tied to illegal drug activity. The bike stolen from a garage, pawned, simply to get a fix. This is a health problem, not a criminal one. We work hard to find that balance between enforcement and recovery.
I implemented the Sheriff’s Drug Recovery Initiative in 2017 in collaboration with Charlotte Behavioral Health Care as an open-door program, offering help to overcome addiction, rather than arresting addicts who need treatment. We are offering contemporary options of prevention, intervention and treatment for those who are ready. Providing a safe way for addicts to turn over user amount of drugs in exchange for help, and without the fear of being criminally charged.
In a way, this becomes a means of crime prevention. Our hope is that we can make a difference within the lives of those suffering from this disease, so they can ultimately turn their lives around and become a productive member of society. We continue to look for innovative ways to make a difference and pursue excellence in the service and protection of Charlotte County, in which we also call home.
Although the program is not new, the need is greater than ever. I urge for you to reach out for more information on this revolutionary program. As always, let’s continue to keep Charlotte County one of the safest counties in the state of Florida.
Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office- (941)-639-2102
Charlotte Behavioral Health Care Recovery Center: (941) 347-6444