- Julius Whigham II Palm Beach Post Staff Writer
A young woman sitting in her car lights up a piece of tin foil and injects a needle into her arm moments later.
A police officer arrives and finds the woman passed out. The woman is rushed to a hospital, but not in time.
She is dead.
The scenario seen in a video released by the Boynton Beach Police Department on Friday morning was just a reenactment. But it is one of a scene that has become increasingly common, police said Friday.
The department reported 32 drug overdoses during the first month of the year, with seven of them being fatal. Last year, city police responded to 626 drug overdoses, including 67 that were fatal.
The department and Boynton Beach Fire Rescue produced a video entitled “Too many lives lost” that was released Friday morning on the police department’s YouTube page online in hopes of raising awareness about the issue.
“The reality of it is we’re handling these overdoses all througout the city,” Boynton Beach Interim Police Chief Kelly Harris said Friday. “From gas stations to McDonald’s to hotels. … It doesn’t discriminate. This can go from any socioeconomic background.
Harris said the department produced the video in hopes of inspiring families in the coummunity to begin “hard conversations” about the issue.
Last November, the department launched Operation Cherry Pill, a drug-enforcement effort to curb opiate-induced overdoes. That operation resulted in the arrest of two dozen people.
The department is continuing its efforts to locate and arrest drug dealers, but arrests alone won’t solve the problem, Harris said.
“We’re going after the drug dealers that are peddling poison on our streets,” she said. “But we realize that this is a public-health crisis and we can’t arrest our way out of it. This is something that we need everything that’s out, the resources that are out there.”
Countywide figures for drug overdoses in 2017 are not yet available, but the numbers are expected to exceed those from 2016, according the Palm Beach County Medical Examiner’s Officer.