While the illegal drug trade will never fully go away, the State Attorney’s Office has recently made some major progress in parts of the state.
State Attorney Amira Fox created the Narcotics Enforcement Task Force known also simply as NETFORCE, designed to dismantle organized crime in Lee, Collier, Charlotte, Glades, and Hendry County. While the task force was created in late 2019, it only recently made headlines with its first major drug busts in Southwest Florida.
The Fort Myers Police Department began by focusing on suspected narcotic supplies in their area. The investigation found several people distributing these drugs throughout Lee County and the neighboring areas. Their discoveries prompted surrounding counties to get involved and expand the investigation.
After more discoveries, NETFORCE made several drug busts in Southwest Florida in only 36 hours. In total, the group confiscated almost $650,000 in illegal drugs including cocaine, meth, heroin, and fentanyl. They also discovered over $350,000 in drug money during these raids and searches. 41 people have already been arrested from various counties in Southwest Florida on charges related to illicit drug sales and drug trafficking, but Fox hinted that this was just the beginning.1
These drug busts in Southwest Florida are Illegal drug sales. They are nothing new in Southwest Florida and throughout the state, but they continue to be a serious cause for concern. In 2017, Florida was one of the top five states with the most cocaine reports in the National Forensic Laboratory Information System. This high number of cocaine in the state is believed to be related to the influx of the drug from Puerto Rico and the Dominican before being distributed to other parts of the United States.2
It doesn’t just end with cocaine. Since 2013, Florida is also one of the states with the most reports of speedball, a mix of heroin and cocaine.2 The Sunshine State has also continued to struggle with the opioid epidemic. The number of drug overdoses involving at least one opioid went from around 500 in 1999 to 3,189 in 2018 with synthetic opioids now leading the way.3 If those people who are addicted to these drugs are unable to successfully detox from opioids and stay clean, these numbers will likely continue to increase.
As a Florida residential treatment center, we have seen the destruction that these drugs can have on not just those involved in the drug trade, but the community as a whole. If you or someone you love has a drug problem, stop waiting to get help.