BSO Has New Weapon To Combat Opioid Epidemic – CBS Miami
FORT LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami) – The Broward Sheriff’s Office has a new weapon in their arsenal to help tackle the community’s opioid epidemic.
It’s a new and innovative technology called MX908.
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“It’s a form of technology that allows us to effectively identify what kind of drugs we’re dealing with,” said Sheriff Gregory Tony.
The hope is that the MX908 will protect those on-site who respond to calls and those who work in the proofreading department.
“We get about 5,000 pieces of mail into the detention center every month, and you can imagine people trying to import contraband get it in the mail,” said Sheriff Tony.
BSO’s Director of Community Programs, David Scharf, showed the media how the technology works on Tuesday.
After a short click on the “Drug Hunter” mode, a swab is removed from the outside of a mail piece. Then it is wiped on a strip and placed in the machine. The screen will then light up with the drug detected.
“Not only can this prove fentanyl, but it also has a library with thousands of different substances that can be dangerous, including flakka and bath salts,” said Scharf.
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Even a small amount of the drug fentanyl can be extremely dangerous and even fatal.
Sheriff Tony said the opioid epidemic on the streets of South Florida could not be ignored.
Broward opioid deaths are expected to increase by 30% in 2021, according to BSO. Opioid deaths are expected to increase by 26% nationwide in 2021.
Also, at least 800 fentanyl deaths are expected in Broward County in 2021.
“The opioid crisis has devastated not just Broward County, but the whole country,” said Sheriff Tony.
BSO currently has four MX908 instruments that have been used dozens of times and have helped BSO MPs identify a range of illicit drugs and cutting agents, including heroin, fentanyl, cocaine and methamphetamine.
BSO started training and using the devices in November 2020.
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They were acquired through a collaborative partnership with the Department of Health Broward through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) grant for Overdose Data to Action.