Opioid issue on the Suncoast impacts kids, leaving many in the foster care system

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MANATEE COUNTY (WWSB) - All week ABC 7 have been exploring the opioid epidemic and devastating effect on the country and on the Suncoast.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, from from the year 2000 to 2016 more than 600,000 people died from opioid overdoses. 

On the Suncoast, many users have kids who are placed in foster care or need a home because of their addiction to opioids.

According to the Florida Department of Children and Families, more than 1,300 kids within Florida were removed from their homes and put into foster care.

Many of those kids are from Manatee and Sarasota Counties.

In fact, both counties are the top in the state to have children removed from their home because the rise in opioid addiction.

The opioid issue on the Suncoast has tripled the number of kids requiring foster care just in Manatee County alone.

ABC 7 spoke to Operation Par, a rehab facility. We're told many of their patients come from all backgrounds and their addiction often times start off with prescription pain killers that lead to an addiction to heroin after not being able to support their habit or get a prescription through a doctor or pharmacy.

Manatee County's Sheriff Rick Wells tells us his department is doing what it can to get the ones selling that deadly drug like heroin off the streets.

"We are working with the United States Attorney's Office and the DEA and we are going out to drug dealers and traffickers and those responsible for putting heroin and fentanyl in our community. So far we have 175 federal indictments and 40 plus we've put in jail", says Sheriff Wells. 

Sheriff Rick Wells tell us so far they've seen an 85 % decrease in overdoses and deaths recently.

Although the numbers are low that doesn't mean some parents aren't continuing the use the drug that's causing their families to be ripped a part.