Sarasota leaders make plea to end heroin usage

Posted at 5:15 PM, Sep 22, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-22 19:09:50-04

Sarasota police officers and paramedics made a public plea on Thursday for drug users to stop using heroin and fentanyl. The number of calls for service for drug overdoses are up 105 percent this summer versus last summer.  

"This situation is a serious threat to the security of Sarasota," said Deputy Police Chief Pat Robinson.

Investigators said they have arrested street level dealers and they've assigned detectives to investigate the heroin epidemic, but they admitted that arrests alone won't stop the epidemic.

"We cannot arrest our way out of this," said Lt. Randy Boyd.

Former users have also joined the police in their efforts to curb the drug usage. John Wayne Thompson used for several years.

"You just need to fill that high and its not really a high anymore it's just maintaining, you have to have it to go to dinner you have to have it to go to work," said Thompson.

Officers said they encourage family's to call the narcotics tip line in Sarasota if they know a family member is using or dealing.  Tip line:  (941)-366-TIPS.

Officials in Manatee County are holding a public forum on the drug epidemic on Thursday evening. The event starts at 5 p.m. at the Manatee Community Foundation.