In Brevard County, Florida, seniors are increasingly becoming addicted to opiods and othe prescrption painkillers.
In this episode of The Great American Senior Show, Brevard County Sherif Wayne Ivey explores the situation with host Sam Yates and offers advice and tips to keep seniors safe.
We also hear a heart tugging tale of a non-senior. A mom thanks Sheriff Ivey for placing her son in jail. The reason she thanks the Sheriff may bring tears to your eyes.
The Great American Senior Show podcast is produced by Yates & Associates, Public Relations & Marketing. This podcast is part of the network of podcasts streaming under the umbrella of the Pod National News Network. For more information about Yates & Associates or the Pod National News Network, contact Sam Yates at (772) 528-5185 or Sam@Yatespro.com. Sponsorship opportunities are available. The Great American Senior Show is ranked 3rd Best in Senior Podcasts to Follow for 2023 in all podcasts for seniors in a comprehensive survey by feedspot.
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Yates & Associates is a full-service Public Relations and Marketing company serving select clients throughout the United States and abroad. For more information visit www.YatesPRO.com .
Hello, everyone and welcome to another exciting edition of The Great American Senior Show. I'm your grey haired host, Sam Yates. And today another special episode Sheriff Wayne Ivey, Brevard County is joining us and Sheriff, welcome back to the program.Sheriff Wayne Ivey:
Oh, thanks, Sam. Thanks for having me. And thanks for all you do to reach our seniors and our businesses with what I believe is relative information to keeping them safe and their businesses safe and their customers safe.Sam Yates:
You know, and I think that's important. And one of the areas that we have not touched on in the last year that we've been doing this is that of seniors and drugs. And sometimes I think everyone thinks that Grandpa Joe not going to have a problem with drugs. And at some times just the opposite, because they're prescribed something by a doctor. And the next thing you know, they're hooked on it, or they find other ways of getting into the drug scene. Tell us what you're seeing among our seniors in Brevard County. Yeah. SoSheriff Wayne Ivey:
Sam, probably the best place to start with that is to talk about the opioid epidemic. And what we're seeing with it is, you know, I've been a law enforcement officer for 42, almost 43 years now. And one of the things that I will tell you is through the years, we have always, you know, said, you know, crack cocaine is the worst thing we ever faced, heroin is the worst thing we ever faced, sadly, we were wrong. What we're facing now with this opioid epidemic is is the toughest, most difficult thing to combat that we've ever faced. And one of the things that makes it so difficult to combat is it knows no stranger, this this drug, and it's its death components. No, no stranger, it doesn't matter if it's the, you know, 18 year old that, that has, you know, sampled other drugs before and now is addicted to it, or a 70 year old that had hip replacement surgery and, and got addicted to it through that mechanism. So we are seeing deaths, overdose deaths like we've never seen before. Certainly fentanyl is playing a massive part in that. And the open access to our borders is playing a big part in the increase in fentanyl that we're seeing in our country. So with all of these dynamics, it's the perfect storm that's that's brewing out there to, to take our citizens lives.Sam Yates:
And Brevard County and looking at the statistics is, is high up there, I think it's about number six in the state of Florida with those types of deaths. So how are you fighting?Sheriff Wayne Ivey:
So you know, our thing is to find it at every level. And when when you look at how you lower your crime rate or how you go after a certain element of the crime, you have to book into. And by booking it, what I mean is you have to be very aggressive, and going after those that are breaking the law, you own the on the backside of it, you have to be very aggressive, equally as aggressive, and trying to rehabilitate those. And when you look at those that are that are falling to addiction of this. And those that are peddling this, you got you got several different target areas. Target number one is to go after those that are are making a fortune, off of the addictions of other their greed is driving the sale of this narcotic. So you know, we go after the dealers, we want to lock them up and keep them locked up. We're blessed, we got a state attorney that works with us, in the name of Phil Archer, who works with us. And the second thing is to identify those that are dealers, those that are continual drug abusers, and those that have fallen prey to to this this new war, if you will. And when you do that, what you start seeing is, there are those that tried it for the very first time and got addicted to it. You know, I testified before Congress back in 2019. And I sat next to a lady that was the department of the Director of the Department of Health and I think Vermont or Delaware. And she she spoke about there are certain people in this world that have a predisposed addiction to to opiates. And so you don't know if that's you, you don't know if it's me, you don't know. And so, you know, a doctor unknowingly prescribes it to you and here you are, or a doctor gives it to you and you take more than you're supposed to. So, you know, we've tried to create a number of different mechanisms to help those that are truly the ones that are addicted, not the ones that are abusing and there's a difference between that when I look at those that are that have been lifelong drug addicts, that that person is going to be addicted to whatever drug comes out there. When when I look at the fact that some of our veterans are getting addicted to this 16 year olds that broke their leg in a motorcycle wreck or getting addicted to this. We have We have created some some pillars, if you will, veterans court to help our veterans that are going through this, we've created drug court, where the judge and the state attorney do a great job at kind of peeling out who needs help and who needs to be put in prison. And then we try and rehabilitate those and get them back into our society as a productive member of society. So you book it, you hit it hard, equally as hard on both ends,Sam Yates:
you use the word help. And when I talk to people in the community, that is something that resonates, it's not punish, but help. And there's a big difference.Sheriff Wayne Ivey:
Sure. And so the most important part of that big difference is determining who needs it? And who will accept it. Is the person going to accept the help? And are they going to work within the modules that are there? Or are they somebody that like I said, is abused every drug on the planet, and I was never going to come out of it, you know. And to give you a true, I think the best example I can give anybody of just how impacting this drug is. I can't tell you how many phone calls, personal contacts, emails, all of these things that I've had from moms, that have told me that the only time they sleep well at night is when their child, their son or daughter is in my jail, because they know at least in there, they're not going to overdose, they're not going to get killed in a drug rip off. When jail is what a mom believes is the safest place for their child. It truly sets the stage for what this opioid epidemic is like.Sam Yates:
Speaking of moms and children, it can be a child of any age, but moms grandparents, with teens and younger adults, there are certain buzzwords that they may not recognize. And I remember sitting in on a session with some of your staff at I want to say it was at one of the the the high schools where they were explaining to parents who are there, these are the words when they say this word, it's a drug. And that that education part is something that I think you're doing quite well and taking out to the schools.Sheriff Wayne Ivey:
Yeah. So you know, we have a great footprint in our schools, our Crime Prevention Unit, J Martinez, Ashley, Jenny, all of them, they are out there pushing out to these kids, you know, to the hazards of this the dangers of this? Well, in 124 month period. If you go back to I believe it was in 2019. In 124 month period, we had 172 overdose deaths in Brevard County. So you know, that puts into perspective, the volume of people that are falling victim to this and, and a lot of times people ask me, Why are you so focused on illegal immigration? We're not a border state? Well, first of all, yes, we are. All right. We're seeing people come come across our border of Florida into the United States every day. But But secondly, when you look at the influx of fentanyl, that we have seen coming into our country with essentially open borders, because that's what we really have. We have to do something illegal immigration doesn't stop at the border, it filters into every community in this country. And the effects of it will spread out and choke us if we don't stop it. And so, you know, that's that's one of the things I'm in 2019, we took off three pounds of fentanyl. Three pounds, Sam is enough that if you put it into a lethal dose, it would kill every citizen in Brevard County. And so we know that came across the border, we know where it went, and how it came to us. And so we're going to continue to push hard to look, you know, we sometimes get pushed back because we'll say something about somebody we've arrested or whatever, and we'll get pushed back. They'll say, Oh, well, well, that person is just addicted to drugs. Well, we we have to enforce the law. And if that person's addictions causes them to break the law, our job is to enforce the law. And so we arrest that person. And then there are mechanisms in place, drug court, veterans court, those things that can help identify what direction this what path this person really needs to go down.Sam Yates:
Can our seniors become involved in some of the things that you're doing?Sheriff Wayne Ivey:
Yeah, so absolutely. You know, I mean, one of the things that we encourage our seniors to do is to stay educated stay aware of the hazards you know, you talked about the names and things a lot ago but a great way to do that is to come be part of our Citizens Academy. We we have a remarkable Citizens Academy again, credit to our community relations unit Crime Prevention Unit for running a great citizens can become an assistant Academy. It's an eye opening experience, not only gives you a a backroom, look at everything the sheriff's office does, but it gives you a front row view of what's going on in the world. Who's eligible. Anybody Yeah, even you say amateur age,Sam Yates:
you don't have chuckling, because the gray haired host is just that a gray haired host. So don't be surprised if you see me out in the audience there at the academy, because I really do believe that you're doing a great job and anything that I can do to help bolster what you are doing for our seniors and all of our citizens here, you know, I'm going to be standing in the front line to pitch in and, you know,Sheriff Wayne Ivey:
there's so many ways to volunteer to in our agency, you know, from, you know, our citizens on patrol or our you know, animal shelter and walking dogs, you know, just all sorts of different things that we have. And another thing that I'll point out too is you are never too old to work for the Brevard County Sheriff's Office. We we are always hiring and and you know, whether that position is in maritime security or that position is in telecommunications as one of our comm Center employees. I tell some people you can be too young to work for the Sheriff's Office, but you're never too old.Sam Yates:
I am the voice of experience. And that's that's how I look at the aging process. It's more experience under my belt. Sure if I want to thank you very much for joining us again, one additional question. Can you come back?Sheriff Wayne Ivey:
Oh, absolutely. I'd love to man let's let's do it as many times as we can and get as much information out there as we can saySam Yates:
we are going to do that Sheriff Wayne IV my special guest today on the great American senior Show. I'm your grey haired Host Sam Yates Have a great day everybody.