Opioid addiction is an ongoing battle in Manatee County, with deputies responding to hundreds of suspected overdose calls this year.
Saturday, Manatee County Sheriff Rick Wells is expected to address the law enforcement side of the fight against opioids at the No Longer Silent meeting at 11 a.m. Saturday in the Manatee County Central Library, 1301 Barcarrota Ave.
He will also provide an overview of what the sheriff’s office has done this year, including efforts to “control the opioids and heroin and fentanyl coming into the county and some results we’ve seen to this point,” Wells said.
An organizer for No Longer Silent — a local support group for those addicted to drugs and their family member — said she is excited to have the sheriff as their guest.
“To have (the sheriff) it’s really an honor, it shows us he really cares,” Gerrie Stanhope, of No Longer Silent, said.
Attendees will have an opportunity to ask questions to the sheriff as well, according to the event’s Facebook page.
Naloxone, a drug that temporarily reverses the effects of an opioid overdose, will be distributed at the meeting as well.
Centerstone of Florida CEO Melissa Larkin-Skinner last week addressed the Florida Senate Appropriations Committee requesting additional funding to aid in the battle against opioid addiction across the state.
“The opioid epidemic is still here, we’re still losing people,” Stanhope said.
The meeting will begin at 11 a.m. with Wells expected to speak at 11:30, Stanhope said.