Heroin task force presents recommendations

- Orange County has seen such a spike in heroin deaths -- 14 in 2011 to 82 in 2015 -- that a heroin task force was formed six months ago to fight the epidemic.  The task force has come up with 37 recommendations in the fight against heroin. 

"Jointly, we have made 372 arrests related to heroin and taken almost 9 kilos of heroin off the streets," explained Orlando Police Chief John Mina, during a presentation of the recommendations at the Orange County Administration Office on Monday.

Those who serve say education about the dangers of heroin is key.  "The front end is letting our citizens know heroin very dangerous, don't go there. We'll need to spend the money on the front end. We'll save money on the back end, but more importantly we'll save lives," said Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs.

The task force has worked to get 70 additional detox beds to help those battling addiction.  They're raising awareness and trying to get nalaxone, a drug that counters overdoses in the hands of all first responders.  We're told judges are also working to combat the problem, by increasing bond amounts for heroin trafficking, and charging some suspects federally. 

But Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings said the county's war on heroin is far from over.  "Just this weekend alone, we had six overdose calls for service and three of them resulted in deaths."

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