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Unprecedented Results in “Operation Dry Spring”

April 11, 2013

“Florida Sheriffs Task Force Announces Unprecedented
Results to Protect Youth, Prevent Drug and Alcohol Abuse, in Operation Dry Spring”

NEW!  Video of press conference

TALLAHASSEE, FL (April 11, 2013) – The Florida Sheriffs Task Force, in conjunction with the Florida Sheriffs Association, has concluded a five week operation aimed at protecting youth in Florida. Operation Dry Spring focused on preventing underage youth from purchasing and using alcohol, tobacco and various forms of synthetic and illegal drugs. The operation, conducted from March 4 through April 7, resulted in 5,016 arrests across 37 counties.

The operation targeted underage youth in possession of alcohol, tobacco or synthetic drugs as well as businesses selling these substances to underage youth. Operation Dry Spring was timed to coincide with the Spring Break season, when many youth experiment with drugs and alcohol.
The operation produced tremendous results, including:

  • 1008 arrests for alcohol possession by a person under 21 years of age (Walton County Sheriff’s Office)
  • 9,300 grams of synthetic narcotics seized (Escambia County Sheriff’s Office)
  • 698 business checks by the for sale of alcohol, tobacco or synthetic drugs to minors (Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office)

“Operation Dry Spring was a remarkable success getting dangerous drugs off the streets, with 18,588 grams of various illegal narcotics seized by Sheriffs’ offices,” said Polk County Sheriff and Task Force Chair Grady Judd. “FSA is proud of the great work of the Florida Sheriffs Task Force to make this state safer for our youth.”

At the heart of Operation Dry Spring was the goal of preventing potential emergency-related incidents linked to alcohol and drug use. In 2010, nearly 190,000 individuals under the age of 21 visited an emergency room for injuries or conditions connected to underage drinking. In addition, the use of synthetic drugs such as bath salts and spice is on the rise with more than 7,000 reported incidents in 2011, compared to some 3,000 in 2010.

“The Florida Sheriffs Task Force was able to conduct 4,173 business checks to ensure the sale of alcohol, tobacco and synthetic drugs to underage youth is not taking place at local businesses,” said FSA President and Highlands County Sheriff Susan Benton. “Cutting off the supply chain of these substances to our youth is extremely important in keeping them safe from the dangers of drugs and alcohol.”

The Florida Sheriffs Task Force pools resources from the 67 Sheriffs’ Offices to address specific areas of concern. The Florida Sheriffs Task Force also is the point of contact for statewide initiatives, including helping to staff the State Emergency Operations Center and coordinating Sheriffs' offices responses to storm-ravaged communities during hurricanes and other disasters.