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GCSO forms overdose task force and receives $50,000 grant

Gilchrist County Sheriff Bobby Schultz held a kick-off meeting for the newly formed Overdose Task Force on Thursday, March 5.
Different segments of local law enforcement were on hand to learn about ODMAP which the Gilchrist County Sheriff’s Office is receiving as part of a grant that Seminole County received.
Sheriff Schultz opened the meeting telling his deputies that “Law enforcement is more than putting people in jail.” He went on to say that as the county grows, drugs will become more of a problem and he hopes to have a proactive plan in place before the need becomes too great. “We already have an opioid problem here, while not as prevalent here as in some places, we have an issue.” Sheriff Schultz said.
Captain Sammy Gibson of the Seminole County Sheriff’s Office spoke of the opioid response efforts being made in his county. Captain Gibson explained that SCSO applied for a nationwide grant that uses ODMAP which is an overdose surveillance system that tracks overdoses in a county or area. The grant that Seminole received was for $350,000 for two years. SCSO picked five Sheriff’s Offices, some large and some small, scattered throughout the entire state to partner with. As a result of Seminole partnering with GCSO, Gilchrist will receive $50,000 for the next two years. With that money they will begin using the ODMAP system and be able to buy Narcan which is a medicine that counteracts a drug overdose.  All first responders in the county will have Narcan.
Captain Gibson told a story about a deputy in a large county who touched fentanyl, which is a synthetic opioid, later the deputy became ill from picking up the fentanyl and putting it in an evidence bag. A fellow deputy saved his life by administering Narcan to the deputy.
Each county first responders having Narcan could not only save the life of a citizen who has overdosed but also the life of a first responder who inadvertently comes in contact with a bad street drug such as fentanyl.
Captain Gibson said that drug overdoses were a real problem in his large county (Orlando) area with over 80 deaths last year alone. He said as small counties grow in population they too will begin to see a rise in overdoses.
Bay County’s Lt. Kevin Francis  spoke to local law enforcement about a program they have started at Bay County Sheriff’s Office (Panama City area) called BOOCS which stands for Bay Opioid Overdose Council. Lt. Francis said that through this new program they now not only respond to overdose but they return afterward to offer service that can help their citizens recover from drug addiction. He told about a test case where a couple were both addicts and the husband thought he could kick it on his on, but the wife wanted help after receiving a visit from the BOOCS response team. The team got her help from  area providers who specialize in helping people recover from drug addiction. She has recovered from her addition and so far is doing well.
The GCSO Overdose Task Force is preparing for the future  growth of the county and what will come along with that growth.