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SPD releases sobering figures in heroin epidemic

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SARASOTA COUNTY ( WWSB) - Members of the Sarasota Police Department (SPD), Sarasota County EMS and First Step of Sarasota joined together Thursday to make a public plea to stop the heroin epidemic in Sarasota.

According to the SPD, since July 1, 44 people have overdosed on suspected heroin and other unknown drugs. Of those 44 people eight of them have died due to overdose in Sarasota.

In August, Darryl Hall, 31, of Bradenton, a major distributor of Carfentanil, was arrested but officers believe that there are more distributors are in the area.

Detectives located individual baggies of suspect heroin, a baggy containing a larger sum of loss suspect heroin, US currency, a working digital scale, rock cocaine and suspect powder cocaine in Hall’s vehicle. The suspected heroin was tested and showed negative results of the presence of any heroin however indicated a positive presumptive for Carfentanil in each.

Hall, 31, was charged with:

  • Possession of a Controlled Substance (Carfentanil) with Intention to Sell
  • Sale of Cocaine, Sale of a Controlled Substance (Carfentanil)
  • Possession of Cocaine with Intent to Sell
  • Possession of Marijuana Less Than 20 Grams
  • Possession of Drug Paraphernalia
  • Driving with a Suspended License

“We’re seeing people selling Fentanyl and Carfentanil as heroin and cocaine. Users are unaware that it’s not heroin or cocaine. People are dying in our community. We have to bring awareness to this crisis,” said Lieutenant Randy Boyd, Sarasota Police Department.

In the City of Sarasota, people can call the Sarasota Police Department Narcotics Tip Line at 941-954-7050 to provide information and tips on possible drug cases happening in the City of Sarasota. Callers can remain anonymous.

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), heroin use has more than doubled among young adults ages 18-25 in the past decade. More than 9 in 10 people who used heroin also used at least one other drug according to the CDC.

More information can be found at the Center for Disease Control's website.

There is help available. To get help for substance abuse problems, call 1-800-662-HELP. Locally, in the City of Sarasota, First Step Treatment Center can be reached at 941-366-5333.