Deputies said they arrested Willie Brown on Wednesday evening after he sold an undercover detective heroin in Bradenton. They considered Brown to be a "street level" dealer.
"You have to get the street level people off the streets to battle this problem," said MCSO spokesperson Dave Bristow.
Bristow said overdose numbers are going down since this summer, because the department has arrested several local dealers.
"We made quite a few arrests over the summer and we busted up a couple of large groups," said Bristow.
He said they plan to continue this tactic into 2017. Deputies arrested 835 people on drug charges in 2015 and 991 people in 2016.
Gerri Stanhope likes seeing the drug arrests. Three of her family members died from heroin usage. She believes arresting people is part of the solution, but not the entire solution.
"The main thing we need in Manatee County is a place for the people who want help to go get it," Stanhope.
Stanhope runs a group for families of drug users.
She said they plan to work on getting treatment for users in 2017.