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Seminole County Sheriff Named Chair Of Opioid Abuse Working Group

Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.
Flickr (Creative Commons)
The Florida Channel
Seminole County Sheriff Dennis Lemma

Seminole County Sheriff Dennis Lemma will chair a new statewide working group on opioid addiction.

Lemma will lead Attorney General-elect Ashley Moody’s Transition Advisory Committee Working Group on Opioid Abuse that has been tasked with slowing the flow of drugs into the state, increasing treatment options, and reducing overdose deaths. He says over his 26 years in law enforcement, he’s learned the only way to accomplish that goal is to reach out to people before they end up in the criminal justice system.

“And what we’re finding is so many people are in need of services and we cannot enforce our way out of this problem. We have to take on a holistic approach that deals with treatment and breaking the addiction.”

That’s why Lemma says he plans on working not just with other law enforcement agencies, but experts from the private and public sectors.

“A lot of times when someone’s incarcerated for an opioid-related dependency or illegal activity, the rehabilitation starts while they’re incarcerated or hospitalized, but we feel it has to be more holistic than that. It has to involve the family.”

Lemma brings 26 years of law enforcement experience to the job. He also has experience working on the Seminole County Opioid and Heroin Task Force.

In a statement, Moody said Lemma would, “be a strong partner as we continue to work to identity innovative interdiction, treatment and prevention strategies to end this crisis and save lives.”