Florida Conference On
Florida's Statewide Conference on
Focuses on Trends in Trafficking, Sale and Distribution
April 24, 2001
Recognizing the need to educate Florida's law enforcement community
about the trends and dangers surrounding Designer Drugs, the Office of
National Drug Control Policy, the High Intensity Drug Trafficking
Area/Central Florida Investigative Support Center, the Orange County
Sheriff's Office and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement are
co-sponsoring the Statewide Conference on Designer Drugs at the Altamonte
Springs Hilton, 350 S. Northlake Boulevard, today.
This one-day conference, from 8:30 a.m. - 5 p.m., will primarily focus
on strategies to combat the trafficking, sale and distribution of designer
or synthetic drugs. This is an effort to bring together law enforcement
officials and personnel from local, state and federal agencies in the
fight against the manufacturing and use of these deadly drugs.
FDLE's Orlando Regional Operations Center Director Joyce Dawley said,
"Unfortunately, Designer Drugs are all too popular in our communities
and to so many of our young people. They are presenting a new challenge to
law enforcement and we must be proactive in fighting these deadly and
extremely profitable drugs. This conference is our collective approach to
Deaths associated with the use of designer drugs, such as Ecstasy (MDMA),
PMA, GHB, Ketamine and Rohypnol, and an increase in arrests and seizures
have not gone unnoticed in Florida.
According to the Florida Medical Examiners report "Drugs
Identified in Deceased Persons" released recently by FDLE, 229 people
died in 2000 from designer drug usage. Additionally, some form of a
designer drugs was found in 729 people at the time of death last year.
Between 1996-2000, MDMA arrests in Florida increased 430% with 461
arrests. There were 29 GHB arrests last year, and while this number seems
relatively low when compared to arrests more "popular" drugs,
this represents an increase of 2000% since 1996.
The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) recently reported that
between October 1999 and September 2000 2.4 million Ecstasy pills were
seized in Florida, and between October 2000 and March 2001, 2.27 million
Ecstasy pills have been seized.
In recognizing these disturbing trends, the 2000 Florida Legislature
enhanced penalties related to designer drugs, and FDLE, in conjunction
with law enforcement agencies in the Tallahassee area, created the Big
Bend Designer Drug Task Force. This cooperative investigative effort, with
members for FDLE, Tallahassee Police Department, Leon County Sheriff's
Office, Florida A & M University Police Department and Florida State
University Police Department, was formed to curb the distribution of
designer drugs in the college town.
"This task force has made great strides in the six months since
its inception," said FDLE's Tallahassee Regional Director Tom
McInerney. "We have 60 trafficking investigations and have made some
significant arrests. Because we are in a town where students
generally outnumber the rest of the community, it is important that we be
proactive in protecting them from the extreme dangers associated with
FDLE participates in similar types of task forces across the state.
"The complexity of Florida's designer drug problem demands a
three-prong approach which targets prevention/education, enhanced
substance abuse treatment and intensified law enforcement. Today, we focus
on the law enforcement aspect," said FDLE Commissioner Tim Moore.
"Despite the efforts of law enforcement across the state, drugs are
readily available, more accepted and still as dangerous as ever."
For more information, contact:
FDLE Office of Public Information
(407) 540-3805 or (407) 448-0978
Public Information Director
Public Information Office