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Sheriffs sponsor Operation Dry Spring during breaks

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By The Staff

The Levy County Sheriff's Office is participating in Operation Dry Spring, which will take place from Monday, March 4, through Sunday, April 7, in conjunction with the spring breaks of most public and private schools in Florida. Operation Dry Spring is being spearheaded by the Florida Sheriffs Task Force.

This time of year, students from across the state take a timeout from their studies to enjoy their first break of the semester. Spring break is also the time when these students, the majority of which are under 21, choose to drink alcohol and experiment with illegal drugs.

Not only does the use of drugs and alcohol by youth lead to poor decision making, it leads to emergency medical situations such as overdoses and alcohol related injuries. In 2010, nearly 190,000 individuals under the age of 21 visited an emergency room for injuries or conditions connected to the use of alcohol. Sadly, the use of synthetic drugs such as bath salts and spice is on the rise with more than 3,000 reported incidents in 2010. Even more devastating, that number more than doubled in 2011 to over 7,000.

"Underage use of alcohol, tobacco and illegal drugs has always been a point of concern for families as well as Florida's Sheriffs," said Polk County Sheriff and Task Force Chair Grady Judd. "If Florida's youth cannot make the right decisions, they will be spending spring break at their Sheriff's office."

The Florida Sheriffs Task Force will be targeting businesses that sell alcohol, tobacco or synthetic drugs to underage youth. Operation Dry Spring will also focus on underage youth in possession of drugs, alcohol and tobacco.