MANATEE -- Community leaders and law enforcement, prevention and treatment professionals from Manatee and Sarasota County will gather Wednesday in Bradenton for roundtable on how to combat the heroin epidemic.
"Our local stakeholders, police officers and medical professionals are on the front lines every day fighting back against drug abuse and guiding families to critical resources," said U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-Fla., who is hosting the roundtable. "We can learn from their experiences and work together to fight back against the heroin crisis here in our community."
The number of heroin overdose deaths in Florida increased nine-fold, from 48 to 447, from 2010-2014, according to the Florida Medical Examiners Commission, as quoted in a news release from Buchanan's office. Last year, some 150 people in Manatee and Sarasota counties are suspected to have died
from heroin overdoses.
Buchanan is co-sponsoring the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (H.R. 953) and the STOP ABUSE Act (H.R. 3719), which he said "represent a multipronged approach aimed at attacking the supply of drugs, preventing new victims through better education and helping those already addicted recover and lead productive lives.
The $1.8 billion cost of these bills would be offset by spending cuts in other parts of the federal budget."
The roundtable is set for 11 a.m. Wednesday at Goodwill Manasota, 2705 51st Ave. E., Bradenton.
Buchanan's office said the following people have RSVP'd to the meeting:
Larry Eger, public defender.
Kevin Dilallo, Manatee Memorial Hospital CEO.
Sharon Kramer, Drug Free Manatee executive director.
Javier Cordova, Drug Free Manatee board chair.
Kari Ellingstad, Safe Rx.
Cathy Wilson, Centerstone of Florida.
Nancy Page, First Step.
Ed Brodsky, state attorney.
Capt. Michael Stinson, Palmetto Police Department.
Terry Gubbins, Florida Pharmacy Association past president.
Steve Young, Doctors Hospital.
Chief Michael Kessie, New College police.
Assistant Chief Mike Pelfrey, North Port Police Department.
Cindy Harney, Families Against Addictive Drug Abuse.
Paul Sutton, Sarasota Coalition on Substance Abuse executive director.
Erin Minor, Harvest House executive director.
Robert Tabor, Coastal Behavioral Health Care supervisor.
Chief Bernadette DePino, Sarasota Police Department.
Capt. Charlie Thorpe, Sarasota County Sheriff's Office.
Sgt. Shannon Seymour, Bradenton Police Department.
Denise Gattuso, No Longer Silent representative.