Drug treatment center says fentanyl addiction growing as Lee County Sheriff’s Office expands Narcotics Unit

FORT MYERS, Fla. — The amount of the extremely dangerous drug Fentanyl, that Lee County Deputies have seized, have more than doubled since 2020.

That’s just part of what Lee County Sheriff, Carmine Marceno told county commissioners on Tuesday; leading to what he described as an epidemic in drug overdose of deaths.

Unanimously, county commissioners on Tuesday ended up approving $1.7 million dollars.

The sheriff says he’ll use that to double the number of narcotics and detectives.

Addiction treatment centers like Nextep in Fort Myers, where psychologists like Dr. Phil James said that over the past two years, he has seen fentanyl continue to addict more and more people.

“I can tell you that the use of fentanyl has increased tremendously,”

dr PhilJames

said James.

That fentanyl increase, James said he’s seeing, is mostly in younger and younger people across Southwest Florida.

“I’m seeing this like I said, with younger and younger population. Which is kind of scary to think that young people would want to do something that eliminates them from the race.”

dr PhilJames

What Doctor James called scary, is that he said he sees as an increasing trend during the last two years; similar to what Lee County Sheriff Carmine Marceno mentioned during a press conference on Tuesday saying,

“I’m proud to say that we are doubling down, doubling the size of our narcotics unit,”

Sheriff Carmine Marceno.

On Tuesday he announced that the newly approved county money will be used to add 44 new employees.

This includes detectives, sergeants, and gang unit detectives.

Coming at a time when Marceno reported that overdose deaths increased more than 60% from 2019 to 2021.

“The destructive force of this is such, that ya, we do need more help.”

Doctor Phil James

On Tuesday, the sheriff clarified, saying he will place many of the new detectives in Lehigh Acres, simply because that’s a large part of the county.

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