|Statewide Narcotics Monitoring System-Oct 2010 Wakulla Times Article|
In late July I attended the Florida Sheriff’s Association conference in Fort Lauderdale and Governor Charlie Crist attended the event to conduct a ceremonial signing of a bill that creates a new statewide narcotics monitoring system that we hope will cut down on the number of individuals who are acquiring narcotics illegally.
We want to make sure that drugs are getting to people who are sick and really need them rather than to criminals who want to abuse or sell the narcotics for personal gain.
The project included law enforcement and pharmacies from 23 North Florida counties and led to the passage of Senate Bill 1050.
The system is expected to be operational by January 2011 and will capture point of sale data in real time over a secure web service and block sales that exceed the legal limit. The data will be available to narcotics investigators for use in generating drug leads. FDLE will also be working with retailers to ensure that the organizations are aware of their responsibilities.
Methamphetamine is a powerful and highly addictive stimulant often created in dangerous home laboratories using chemicals such as ephedrine and pseudoephedrine, which are found in over-the-counter cold remedies. Since 2005, state law has required these products to be kept behind store counters, and limited sales to nine grams or three packages. In 2006, the federal Combat Methamphetamine Epidemic Act was implemented and became the dominant standard in Florida.
The law Governor Crist ceremonially signed became effective July 1, 2010. It requires the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to have a database in operation by January 1, 2011. At that time, each pharmacy will be required to use a real-time electronic logbook that will include the buyer’s identification and information about the ephedrine or related compounds purchased.
While in Fort Lauderdale, Gov. Crist was joined by FDLE Commissioner Gerald Bailey who applauded the work of Florida law enforcement officials. The two men announced that Florida’s overall index crime rate of serious crimes reached a 39-year low. The state statistics declined by 6.4 percent in 2009 compared to 2008. The violent index crimes include murder, forcible rape, robbery and aggravated assault. Violent crimes dropped 10 percent in 2009 while the non-violent index crimes of burglary, larceny and motor vehicle theft decreased by 6.2 percent.
Despite our growth, Wakulla County continues to experience positive crime rate statistics and our community remains one of the safest counties in the state with a much lower percentage chance of becoming a victim of crime.
Photo by Jon Singley/sheriffphoto.com