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David Siegel Weighs In On Orange County’s Growing Heroin Problem

File photo: Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs launched a heroin task force, and Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings, left, and time share magnate David Siegel joined the announcement.

Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs promised a quick response to an spike in heroin overdoses and deaths. Monday marked the first meeting of a multi-agency task force to combat Orange County’s growing heroin problem.

“This is going to be a very expedited process,” Jacobs said. “We’re going to spend approximately six months. This task force is not going to meet for six years. … So this is a matter of utmost urgency.”

Heroin has overtaken cocaine as the deadliest street drug in Orange County. This past weekend alone, the Orange County deputies responded to 11 calls for suspected heroin overdoses. In the last week, there have been three deaths.

And while a press conference was meeting to discuss the kickoff of a heroin task force in Orange County, officers were responding to a suspected overdose off Orange Blossom Trail.

“I would be kidding myself if I thought that we could totally solve this simply by an enforcement strategy,” said Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings. “It has to have the awareness and prevention and intervention and treatment modes as well.”

Orlando time share magnate David Siegel is turning his considerable influence and fortune toward drug overdoses. Siegel addressed the new Orange County Heroin Task Force, saying he wants random drug testing to be implemented at middle schools, high schools and universities.

“The only way we’re going to cut out the drug usage or lessen it is the fear of getting caught,” Siegel said. “And that’s what a random drug test does.”

Siegel also wants to unite families who have lost children to drug overdose into “one loud voice.” Siegel’s daughter died of an accidental drug overdose in June.

The heroin task force will meet for the next six months, and includes representatives from health care, treatment, government and law enforcement.

 


WMFE is a partner with Health News Florida, a statewide collaborative reporting on health care.

Health reporting on WMFE is supported in part by AdventHealth.

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Abe Aboraya

About Abe Aboraya

Health Reporter

Abe Aboraya started writing for newspapers in High School. After graduating from the University of Central Florida in 2007, he spent a year traveling and working as a freelance reporter for the Seattle Times and the Seattle Weekly, and working for local news websites in the San Francisco Bay area. Most recently Abe ... Read Full Bio »

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