Yulee, Fla. – Sheriff Bill Leeper announced today that the Nassau County Sheriff’s Office (NCSO) will participate in a statewide effort of the Member Agencies of the Florida Sheriff’s Association. Operation Dry Spring will focus on issues of vital importance to the wellbeing of our youth – the sale of alcohol, tobacco, and drugs (specifically synthetic drugs) to underage youth and the possession of alcohol, tobacco, and drugs by underage youth.
The scheduled time of this operation, March 4 – April 7, 2013, is being held in conjunction with Spring Break schedules throughout the state – allowing law enforcement officers to focus on the potential heightened use of alcohol, tobacco, and drugs by youth during this period.
Sheriff Leeper said, “Deputies with the NCSO will be conducting operations targeting businesses who sell alcohol, tobacco, and synthetic drugs to underage youth.” This will be conducted through random, undercover business checks. “This initiative sends a clear message that we are committed to the wellbeing of our children – our most precious resource” Leeper added.
Last month Sheriff Leeper announced that NCSO narcotics deputies confiscated 334 packets of synthetic cannabinoids from local convenience stores, after Attorney General Pam Biondi enacted an emergency rule outlawing 22 synthetic drugs, commonly known as “bath salts,” “K2,” “herbal incense,” “spice” or “fake weed.” The emergency rule designated these synthetic drugs as Schedule I controlled substances, making the sale, manufacturing, delivery, and possession with intent to sell, manufacture or deliver these drugs a third-degree felony. After receiving additional complaints, on February 15, 2013, deputies returned to the Sunoco Gas Station on SR-200 and seized 93 packets of these illegal substances and arrested an individual for Possession of Synthetic Substances with intent to sell.
Alcohol is the most commonly used and abused drug among youth in the United States and is responsible for more than 4,700 deaths of underage youth every year. Underage drinking is linked to a higher risk of suicide and homicide, the abuse of other drugs, injury, and even death. Youth who use tobacco are more likely to use alcohol and other drugs. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, every day nearly 4,000 American youth under the age of 18 smoke their first cigarette. Data from the 2012 Monitoring the Future Survey indicates that 11.3% of 12th graders have used synthetic marijuana in the past year.
Should you know of or encounter an illegal substance being sold at a local establishment, please contact the Nassau County Sheriff’s Office at 904-548-4084. Working together, we can protect our community from the destructive effects of these illegal drugs.