FT LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami) – City and county officials, law enforcement, healthcare and addiction specialists all gathered at City Hall in Pembroke Pines on Thursday for a town hall meeting on how to take on the opioid epidemic.
“It’s catastrophic,” said Don Maines.
Maines is a Broward Sheriff’s Office substance abuse advisor who works a multitude of programs – from pre-trial intervention to drug court.
Last year, in Broward County there were 582 deaths attributed to opioid overdoses, more than double from the year before.
Maines says 2017 is looking to be worse.
“We’re getting two every day in Broward County,” he said.
CBS4 was there in July as sheriff’s deputies rounded up dozens of dealers in raids around the county over a three day period. A drug superstore, with piles of packets of heroin and cocaine, was found inside one hotel room.
Maines says for those hooked on heroin or cocaine, the trend is to mix it with cheaper and more potent fentanyl and every batch is different.
“This is what’s killing people, because these synthetic opioids are being mixed in with a low grade heroin,” he said.
Broward County has been ground zero for drug problems in the past and has learned a valuable lesson on how to stop them.
“This is a crisis that is only going to be resolved by making sure we can help break the cycle of addiction,'” said Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz.