Several deadly overdoses reported in Florida panhandle area; deputies investigate

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BAY COUNTY, Fla. (WMBB) — The Bay County Sheriffs Office is reporting that drug overdoses are up in recent weeks.

After communication with several of the surrounding counties, who have also experienced a handful of fatal overdoses just this past weekend, officials said they believe this could be part of a bigger issue going on in the Florida panhandle.

Monday, BCSO responded to the scene of a fatal overdose and an illegal narcotic found at the scene is being tested for its contents now.

Lieutenant Kevin Francis of the Bay County Sheriff’s Office suspects that the substance may contain fentanyl or fentanyl-related ingredients but is waiting on lab results for confirmation.

They believe that these overdoses are associated with an import of potent narcotics to the area, including the one found at the scene of Monday’s overdose.

“When we see as many as three or four in the same county in one weekend, especially some of our smaller counties that are surrounding us, that’s not good, they don’t normally have that many going on just over the weekend,” said Francis.

Authorities contribute some of those rising numbers to the reopening of local areas.

“As things are starting to open up more, we’re seeing those numbers come back and we’re seeing people get out and about and we’re seeing people traveling. When you see things like that, you see people traveling to buy dope and bring it back into Bay County or some of our surrounding counties,” said Francis.

Francis says communication is key.

“The biggest thing we can do is share information with our surrounding counties, because if we can connect ours to theirs and then nail down where that drug came from, we can start working on that person who distributed it in the first place,” said LT. Francis.

If someone is charged with distribution of these fatal narcotics, they could be facing very serious charges.

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