N Friday, October 24, 2014
   
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New Statewide Narcotics Monitoring System Now in Place

SHERIFF-AND-CRIST-4In late July I attended the Florida Sheriff’s Association conference in Fort Lauderdale and Governor Charlie Crist attended the event to conduct a ceremonial signing of a bill that creates a new statewide narcotics monitoring system that we hope will cut down on the number of individuals who are acquiring narcotics illegally.

We want to make sure that drugs are getting to people who are sick and really need them rather than to criminals who want to abuse or sell the narcotics for personal gain.

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) conducted a Methamphetamine Pilot Project to test the usefulness and effectiveness of a database to monitor the purchase of over-the-counter methaphetamine precursor drugs.

The project included law enforcement and pharmacies from 23 North Florida counties and led to the passage of Senate Bill 1050.

The bill establishes legal limits and reporting requirements for the sale and purchase of ephedrine-related compounds and requires FDLE to work with an administrator to electronically track the sale and purchase of the compounds. FDLE will partner with the National Assoication of Drug Diversion Investigators to create the monitoring system throughout Florida.

The system is expected to be operational by January 2011 and will capture point of sale data in real time over a secure web service and block sales that exceed the legal limit. The data will be available to narcotics investigators for use in generating drug leads. FDLE will also be working with retailers to ensure that the organizations are aware of their responsibilities.

“Meth destroys lives, families and communities, and we must aggressively fight this dangerous drug,” said Governor Crist. “It not only endangers those who use it, but also innocent children and law enforcement officers who come in contact with the labs where it is made. This law will hinder those who seek to make this devastating drug, and therefore, make Florida safer for all.”

Methamphetamine is a powerful and highly addictive stimulant often created in dangerous home laboratories using chemicals such as ephedrine and pseudoephedrine, which are found in over-the-counter cold remedies. Since 2005, state law has required these products to be kept behind store counters, and limited sales to nine grams or three packages. In 2006, the federal Combat Methamphetamine Epidemic Act was implemented and became the dominant standard in Florida.

The law Governor Crist ceremonially signed became effective July 1, 2010. It requires the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to have a database in operation by January 1, 2011. At that time, each pharmacy will be required to use a real-time electronic logbook that will include the buyer’s identification and information about the ephedrine or related compounds purchased.

While in Fort Lauderdale, Gov. Crist was joined by FDLE Commissioner Gerald Bailey who applauded the work of Florida law enforcement officials.

The two men announced that Florida’s overall index crime rate of serious crimes reached a 39-year low. The state statistics declined by 6.4 percent in 2009 compared to 2008. The violent index crimes include murder, forcible rape, robbery and aggravated assault. Violent crimes dropped 10 percent in 2009 while the non-violent index crimes of burglary, larceny and motor vehicle theft decreased by 6.2 percent.

Despite our growth, Wakulla County continues to experience positive crime rate statistics and our community remains one of the safest counties in the state with a much lower percentage chance of becoming a victim of crime.

We must thank the men and women of law enforcement at the sheriff’s office as well as members of the community who help us provide a safe environment for children and adults by reporting suspicious activity and help us solve crimes.

Photo by Jon Singley/sheriffphoto.com
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