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PCSO News Release

Media Contact:
Eleazer, Carrie

Public Information Officer 
News Date: 3/4/2013 

 Florida Sheriffs Task Force Launches "Operation Dry Spring" - Combatting Underage Drinking, Smoking, and Illegal Drug Use 


Sheriff Grady Judd, Chairman of the Florida Sheriffs Task Force, announces today the launching of an initiative throughout the state of Florida by the Florida Sheriffs Task Force named "Operation Dry Spring."  This operation, which runs from March 4 - April 7, 2013, will target the illegal sale of alcohol and cigarettes to minors, as well as the illegal use of drugs by minors. 

"The Florida Sheriffs Association has always been committed to keeping our children safe, and this initiative will focus on keeping them safe especially during spring break.  We want to ensure that our youth are celebrating responsibly and making wise choices -- and not choosing to partake in drinking, smoking, or illegal drug use.  We will also be focusing on those who sell alcohol, cigarettes, and illegal drugs to minors." - Sheriff Grady Judd 

STATISTICS: 

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.  [Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Youth and Tobacco Use” & “Youth & Tobacco” Information Sheet, November 15, 2012.]  

The American Association of Poison Control Centers reports that calls regarding exposure to synthetic marijuana doubled in number between 2010 and 2011 – from 2,906 to 6,956.  The number of calls regarding exposure to “bath salts” increased considerably between 2010 and 2011 – from 304 to 6,138.  [Source: Office of National Drug Control Policy, “Synthetic Drugs (a.k.a. K2, Spice, Bath Salts, etc.): Overview & History,” 2012.]

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.  In 2010, approximately 189,000 individuals under the age of 21 visited emergency rooms in the United States for injuries or conditions connected to the use of alcohol.  Underage drinking is linked to a higher risk of suicide and homicide, the abuse of other drugs, injury, and even death.  [Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Underage Drinking Fact Sheet, October 29, 2012.]

Results of the statewide initiative will be released on April 11, 2013.