BRADENTON – It’s a deadly crisis. Heroin addiction is sweeping the Bay area and claiming hundreds of lives across the state. The epidemic has earned Manatee County the dubious title of drug death capital of the state.
According to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, heroin was at least partially to blame for 45 deaths in Manatee County in 2015. The drug Fentanyl was also linked to 77 deaths as reported in the Medical Examiners Commission Annual Drug Report.
2016 looks to be even deadlier despite efforts by law enforcement to get the drugs off the streets through arrests and education.
Manatee County deputies say already this year there have been 891 overdoses from heroin and 60 deaths.
The Manatee County Medical Examiner’s office has been overwhelmed by the spike in heroin and fentanyl overdoses. The morgue is filled past capacity and they’ve performed a record number of autopsies.
Statewide in 2015, 779 people died from heroin use and another 911 died from Fentanyl, evidence of the disproportionate numbers for Manatee.