We’re Attacking Prescription Drug Abuse on Several Fronts
They are in your home, sitting in your medicine cabinets, expired, unused and perhaps forgotten. Unfortunately, when they fall into the wrong hands, the consequences can be tragic. They are: prescription drugs.
Beginning in March, Pinellas County residents will receive their 2010 Census forms in the mail. The census data are important because they are used in determining congressional and legislative districts as well as determining funding for schools, housing, roads, and more. The form is shorter this year than in 2000, and is comprised of only 10 questions. Residents are asked to fill out the form and return it by U.S. mail. If forms are not received by April 1, 2010, census workers will begin visiting those households that did not return their forms. These visits will occur from April through July, 2010. Federal law mandates that individual responses are confidential.
Over the last two months, a vacant Pinellas County Government Highway Department vehicle maintenance and fueling facility in Lealman has been transformed into a multi-sports and activity complex for the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Police Athletic League, (PAL).
From the Desk of Pinellas County Sheriff Jim Coats
‘Tis the season for family, friends and holiday gatherings. But ‘tis also the season to keep in mind various crime prevention tips that will help to keep you, your family and your belongings safe throughout the holidays and the New Year.
To use medical terms, the illegal sale and trafficking in prescription drugs have reached epidemic proportions not only in the Tampa Bay area, but around the country. In an effort to target the increase in organized trafficking and sale of prescription drugs, doctor shopping and prescription fraud, Pinellas County Sheriff Jim Coats recently announced the formation of the Narcotics Strategic Diversion Unit. The alarming increase in the number of pharmaceutical overdose deaths was another factor in this expanded investigative effort.
From the Desk of Sheriff Jim Coats December 2008
As we begin the New Year, I would like to thank the citizens of Pinellas County for their overwhelming support. I look forward to my second term as your Sheriff, and my staff and I have implemented many initiatives despite having faced some serious and unprecedented budget challenges along the way.
All of our programs and services have been scrutinized to determine their cost effectiveness and productivity. This analysis became especially important during the past year when it became clear that there would be a significant reduction in our budget even though our operating costs had increased. Through some reorganization, including the elimination of some positions and modification of services, we endured and we are now planning for the future.
It is anticipated that we will once again face budget cuts in the coming fiscal year; however, I am confident that our ongoing efforts to ensure efficiency will allow us meet the challenge ahead. Some of the initiatives aimed at saving money, while still providing superior service to our citizens, include improvements in some patrol operations, crime prevention programs, and the use of volunteers.
With the winter holiday season quickly approaching I am once again compelled to encourage everyone to prevent crime by eliminating opportunity. There are many steps that you can take to protect yourself and your valuables from a holiday thief.
One of the most effective ways to protect yourself is to remain aware of your surroundings. This means taking the extra time to park in well lit areas, and to look for suspicious people loitering nearby before getting out of your car. If you see something or someone that makes you feel uncomfortable, move to another parking area and/or report your suspicions to security guards, or a law enforcement officer. We would much rather investigate a suspicious person report than a violent crime. Other suggestions include limiting the amount of cash and credit cards you carry while shopping, and when possible, avoid shopping alone.
The most effective way to protect your valuables is to properly secure them. One of the most common points of entry for car burglars is through an unlocked door or an open window. You would be surprised how many vehicle burglaries we investigate because owners simply did not lock their cars. By locking your car doors, and closing windows completely, this is arguably one of the most preventable crimes. For this reason, locking your car doors and windows is especially important during the holiday season when many people travel from one location to another while shopping.
It is also recommended that you place gifts, packages, and other valuables in the trunk of your car or at least move them out of plain view. Purses, wallets, gift cards, portable electronics, and cash are all an open invitation for a criminal to break into your car.
By taking a few minutes to protect yourself and your belongings you may prevent a crime. By doing so you are once again helping us in “Leading The Way For A Safer Pinellas.”
If you would like other suggestions regarding holiday safety please contact the Sheriff’s Office Crime Prevention Unit at (727) 582-5611.
Tampa Bay Informer
The Good News Newspaper