Gov. Scott signs bill in Sarasota to fight opioid abuse

(AP Photo/J Pat Carter, File)

SARASOTA, Fla. (WFLA) — Law enforcement agencies throughout the Tampa Bay area are desperate to stop a plague that’s taking lives every day: the opioid epidemic. On Tuesday, the governor was in Sarasota to sign a bill into law that creates stricter punishment for dealers.

Time and time again we’ve been told that opioids are an equal opportunity offender. They hold the power to ruin lives.

“Every family has to deal with it. Like I’ve raised daughters and my wife and I have grandchildren. You’re always trying to figure out how to make sure they don’t end up abusing drugs,” Governor Rick Scott said.

In an effort to stop more people from getting roped into a deadly habit, Governor Scott says this bill will help pump the breaks on the epidemic.

“It hopefully gets the dealers off the street. The penalties are going to be a lot worse,” said Scott.

Under the new bill, dealers can now face homicide charges for overdoses.

“These people out here right now are making a profit off of the deaths of killing others. They need to be locked up. They need to go to jail for it,” said Manatee County Sheriff Rick Wells.

While the bill fights the amount of drugs on the street, it doesn’t end the biggest problem of addiction.

Governor Scott admits that more must be done.

“Ultimately we all have to figure out what we all have to do to stop this opioid crisis,” said Scott.

Meanwhile, authorities want to help those who want to be helped.

“Come to us for help. Let us help you. Right now I am telling you if you call 911 and you tell the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office that you want to go to a treatment facility, we’ll pick you up and take you there,” said Sheriff Wells.

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