Authorities unveiled today a new measure in the fight against synthetic drugs.
There’s a new billboard on U.S. 19 in Port Richey (near Ichiban Sushi), and it informs passersby of the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office campaign that uses stickers to let people know a business does not sell synthetic drugs, such as Spice and K2.
The billboard reads ”Thank businesses with this sticker.” Below that is the text of the sticker, which reads “Synthetic Drugs Kill – These Drugs Are NOT Sold Here.”
It also gives the sheriff’s office tipline number.
The billboard is one of five that have been installed across Pasco County through a partnership between the Sheriff’s Office and the Pasco County Alliance for Substance Abuse Prevention
Four of them are in West Pasco. The other is in Zephyrhills.
Synthetic drugs have been a concern for folks in Pasco, where the drugs have been found in some local convenience stores. Contained in colorful wrappings, synthetic drugs, often referred to as synthetic marijuana, are a mix of chemicals that can be harmful if consumed. Sometimes people, especially young people, use synthetic drugs to get high. On some occasions, use of the drugs has been atrtributed to changes in behavior.
“It’s left the community frightened,” said Chrissie Parris, executive director of PASCO ASAP.
The sheriff’s office unveiled its sticker program in June. Businesses that sign an agreement not to sell synthetic drug products receive the stickers to affix to their windows.
Pasco Sheriff Chris Nocco said the billboards are phase two of the campaign to increase awareness of the “poisons of synthetic drugs.”
“One of the hardest things out there is parents don’t know what is happening,” he said. “They don’t see what is happening. …This billboard’s going to leave a big marker out there for people to realize as they drive down 19 what businesses are safe, which ones are bad.”
Parris said the billboards cost $3,000 total and were paid for with grant money, not sheriff’s office money.
The billboards are located at the following locations and will be up for a month:
- U.S. 19, 2.80 miles north of State Road 52, east side facing north
- U.S. 19, 4.50 miles north of New York Avenue, west side facing north
- U.S. 19, 600 feet south of Jasmine, west side facing north
- Ridge Road, .30 miles west of Little Road, north side facing west
- State Road 54, 1 mile east of Morris Bridge Road