Tampa Crackdown on Pills Pushes Users Back to Cocaine and Heroin
Public health and law-enforcement officials in Tampa are struggling to combat a surge in drug-related deaths.
As a crackdown on so-called “pill mills” made it more difficult to obtain prescription pain-killers, addicted users have turned to purchasing heroin and cocaine.
“Powder cocaine is back,” said Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Guiltier.
Highlighting the complex and difficult nature of the current addiction crisis, the Pinellas-Pasco medical examiner’s district saw an increase in cocaine-related deaths last year, from 101 to 157, and Gualtieri said his deputies have noticed an uptick this year, too.
“We’re seeing a resurgence of cocaine, a resurgence of heroin,” Gualtieri said, adding that dealers are also mixing heroin with a more potent synthetic opioid called fentanyl.
The data for 2017 has not been finalized, but the trends are not encouraging with fentanyl and oxycodone-related incidents in the Tampa area already flooded with more than 25 deaths.
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