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Attorney General Commends Florida Sheriffs

August 11, 2014

(In this guest blog post, Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi congratulates Florida Sheriffs and their personnel for helping to reverse dangerous trends in our state)

Whenever I attend a Florida Sheriffs Association Conference, I am so grateful for the opportunity to thank each of you for your great service and dedication to protecting Floridians. Florida is at a 43-year low crime rate and that is in large part due to the Sheriffs—thank you.

Recently, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a national report on how Florida has reversed a previously upward trend of prescription drug-related deaths. Florida now serves as a national model in the fight against the prescription drug epidemic, and Florida’s Sheriffs played a crucial role in this battle to shut down pill mills that once lined our community streets. The report shows that Florida has the first documented substantial decline drug overdose mortality of any state in the past 10 years. Thanks to our state’s multifaceted efforts to crack down on pill mills, prescription drug-related deaths have decreased by 23 percent from 2010 to 2012. I’d specifically like to thank the Sheriffs for donating $148,000 to the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program for E-FORCE sustainability.

I am also grateful to the Sheriffs for helping protect our kids from deadly synthetic drugs, which are marketed to our youth with names such as “Scooby Snax.” For the first time this year, Medical Examiners have begun documenting deaths related to synthetic drugs. During the first six months of 2013, 77 individuals died with synthetic drugs in their bodies, and 30 individuals’ deaths were caused by synthetic drugs. The gathering of this key information and statistics will help us to continue to combat emergent threats facing our communities.  

Finally, we are all dedicated to fighting an abhorrent crime that lurks in the shadows throughout Florida—human trafficking. Florida ranks third in the number of calls to the national human trafficking hotline. We have made great strides in combating this crime. We have partnered with businesses to ask that they develop their own internal policies and procedures, we have worked with Florida Department of Law Enforcement to create a voluntary training program for law enforcement officers that focuses specifically on human trafficking, and we have launched an awareness campaign called “From Instant Message to Instant Nightmare.” Most recently, we partnered with emergency medical personnel to help them identify indicators of human trafficking. Read more about that effort on my web page.

Every one of these key public safety goals relies on the wonderful law enforcement officers we have in our state. Your constant support and commitment to selflessly protect Floridians is inspiring, and I thank you for all that you have done and all that you continue to do. If I can ever be of assistance to you, please do not hesitate to contact me.