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Florida Sheriffs Association Thanks Gov. Scott for Signing Comprehensive Drug Control Bill HB 477

June 14, 2017

The Florida Sheriffs Association (FSA) would like to thank Governor Scott for signing HB 477 into law. FSA has made its top legislative priority to support comprehensive drug control legislation during the 2017 legislative session, which will create criminal penalties for trafficking Fentanyl and other synthetic drugs, such as cannabinoids and cathinones.  

The Comprehensive Drug Control bill, HB 477, allows a drug dealer to be charged with murder for causing any death through the distribution of Fentanyl, heroin, or any mixture thereof; this penalty currently exists for cocaine, opium, and methadone. The bill also adds numerous “Fentanyl Derivatives” to Florida’s Controlled Substances Schedules to include all chemical variants of Fentanyl.

“Law enforcement alone cannot stop the loss of lives due to substance abuse,” said FSA President and Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings. “We must continue to be equipped with the necessary resources and laws to reduce the supply and demand of illegal drugs. Signing this bill is one additional tool to help us combat this epidemic.”

“We must also increase our efforts to create robust drug prevention and substance abuse treatment options for those in need,” said FSA Legislative Chair Sheriff Bob Gualtieri. “Our goal is to address these issues and make them our priority so we can protect the community as a whole. This bill puts in perspective the issues at hand that must be controlled and criminalized.”

“The most disheartening problem emanates to the family and loved ones of these victims,” said FSA Executive Director Steve Casey. “This bill will bring justice to these families, as well as the surrounding communities. Thank you, Governor Scott, for making safe communities a top priority, and ensuring justice will continue to be served.”

Drug diversion and abuse hurts Florida significantly in terms of lost lives, increased crime, and substantial costs connected to treatment. A balanced plan is needed and the sheriffs are ready to continue to work with partners to ensure no more lives are lost to drug addiction. The ultimate goal of this plan is to hold drug dealers accountable and ensure the reduction of supply and demand for illicit drugs.

To check out FSA’s new drug awareness video, click the link below: [url=][/url]

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The Florida Sheriffs Association is a not-for-profit 501(c)3 corporation made up of Florida’s Sheriffs, approximately 3,500 business leaders and 70,000 citizens throughout the state. Founded in 1893, FSA has steadfastly served the citizens of Florida by supporting the needs of the state's law-enforcement community. Through the Florida Sheriffs Association, Sheriffs are given a forum to address lawmakers to push for positive changes in Florida’s public safety arena. FSA also provides Sheriffs' Offices much-needed programs such as affordable training, special task forces and legislative and legal services. Dedicated to the prevention of juvenile delinquency and the development of lawful, productive citizens, FSA both established and continues to fund the Florida Sheriffs Youth Ranches with facilities throughout the state to help restore hope, fulfill dreams, and prepare boys and girls for the future. The Florida Sheriffs Association has grown to be one of the largest and most successful state law enforcement associations in the nation. For more information on the Florida Sheriffs Association, visit