Dr. Russell Vega is dealing with a drug epidemic. Autopsies were up nearly 50-percent this summer and many of them were due to drug overdoses.
"It's as bad now as its ever been" said Vega.
Not only is drug usage on the rise, but he said the drugs are becoming more powerful. Some of the heroin is being laced with the potent drug fentanyl.
Dr. Vega spoke to a handful of concerned Manatee/Sarasota citizens. The goal was educate people about drug prevention.
"Theres a tendency to keep it under the rug, the way to deal with these problems is to acknowledge them and educate about them," said Vega.
Gerri Stanhope attended the meeting, because she runs a survivors group called "No Longer Silent."
"We need more treatment centers, we don't have a whole lot of treatment centers so when people want help they go in and get turned away," said Stanhope.
Group members are hoping law makers increase funding for drug addiction facilities.