Six years ago, Florida was surrounded by deaths from prescription painkillers. So far, Florida was able to shut down these pill mills, people who sell these drugs illegally and are not licensed within the state, but there is another problem hitting the streets of Florida and its cheaper cost-effective heroin laced with fentanyl.

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Pinellas County has seen a rise in overdose deaths from 2015 to the present. The number of fatal overdoses increased by 53 percent in Pinellas County, which means more than half of drug addicts doing heroin are more likely to die thanks to making cheaper heroin by lacing it with fentanyl.

The number of confirmed deaths has totaled 274 and seven cases still being examined by local coroners. The number could rise well past the 280 confirmed deaths recorded in 2010 when oxycodone addiction was rampant.

Pasco County has seen a 34 percent increase in fatal overdose deaths last year. Hillsborough County has not yet totaled its percentage of overdose deaths from last year, but also expects an increase much like that of Pinellas, if not higher.

Florida's Department of law enforcement says that reported heroin deaths in Florida have increased by 75 percent, with fentanyl, it is up by 70 percent.

Seeking crackdowns

A commissioner from Palm Beach County and a Senator from Miami-Dade County called on Gov.

Rick Scott to declare a public health emergency on cracking down on heroin and fentanyl deaths just like he did in 2010 when the deaths from oxycodone were on the rise.

"We cannot, and we will never, solve this problem at the law enforcement level," said Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri to Tampa Bay Times, "This needs to be treated as an addiction problem, a mental health problem.

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We may have had great success beating back the pill mills, but all that meant is we were going to see a switch to different drugs and different dealers."

"In Florida, it's an epidemic," said Jim Hall to Tampa Bay Times. Hall is the co-director for the Center for Applied Research on Substance Abuse at Nova Southeastern University, "Nationally, this is a pandemic."