Statewide, drug-related deaths rose by 13.9 percent and heroin-related deaths overall increased by a staggering 79.7 percent.
The drug-related deaths don’t seem to be going down. The Bradenton Herald reported that the District 12 medical examiner’s office has performed a record number of autopsies in part due to the spike on heroin- and fentanyl-related overdoses. Last year, the District 12 office performed a total 820 autopsies of the three counties, where 397 of those were in Manatee County. The average is from 625 to 650 per year.
Our community is being destroyed by heroin. Manatee is the drug death capital of Florida. We have drug use taking place in our church parking lot. The drug epidemic is not on the other side of town, it’s in our backyard. Our community, our neighbors need hope.