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Sheriff’s School Resource Officers Join N.O.P.E. For Anti-Drug Message At Azalea Middle School On Eve Of Candlelight Vigil

Release Number: 11-249

Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office
Patrol Operations Bureau
School Resource Officer Unit
Investigative Operations Bureau
Narcotics Division

Narcotics Overdose Prevention and Education (N.O.P.E.)
Coordinator: Laurie Serra

Pinellas County Schools
Azalea Middle School
Connie Kolosey, Ed.D., Principal

What: Members of the Sheriff’s School Resource Officers Unit will join N.O.P.E for an anti-drug presentation at Azalea Middle School in St. Petersburg. The N.O.P.E message aims to create awareness among students about the serious problem of prescription drug abuse and overdose deaths.

The presentation scheduled at Azalea Middle on Wednesday, October 26, 2011 takes place one day before N.O.P.E. and the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office host the third annual candlelight vigil to remember those who have died in Pinellas County from drug and alcohol related abuse (See press release 11-239 for further details about the candlelight vigil.)

Where: The presentations will be given in the auditorium of Azalea Middle School located at 7855 22nd Avenue North in St. Petersburg.

When: The presentations will be given at 9:30 a.m. and 10:40a.m. on Wednesday, October 26, 2011.

School Resource Officers and NOPE presenters will deliver an anti-drug message to 7th and 8th grade students at Azalea Middle School beginning at 9:30 a.m. on Wednesday, October 26, 2011.

The students will hear directly from parents who have lost a son or daughter to drug overdose, and from deputies who connect their experiences to the losses.The presentation further provides students with information about: the alarming rate of drug overdose deaths in Pinellas County; the dangers of combining prescription or other illicit drugs and alcohol; addiction as a disease; how to recognize the sign and symptoms of a drug overdose; and how to get help for yourself or a friend.

The problem has reached epidemic proportions in Pinellas County. According to the Medical Examiner’s Office, 249 people died in Pinellas County in 2010 as a result of accidental overdose of prescription drugs, that’s 31 more deaths than in 2009.

In the 2010-2011school year N.O.P.E. presenters reached over 31,000 Pinellas middle and high school students (in both public and private schools) through 77 presentations.

Media is invited to cover the Wednesday morning presentations, as well as the candlelight vigil which is set for 7:00 p.m. on Thursday, October 27, 2011 at Largo Central Park (for details regarding the vigil, please see press release 11-239).

For further information please contact the Sheriff’s Public Information Office at 727-582-6221.

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