BROOKSVILLE Earlier this week the Hernando County Sheriff’s Office wrapped up Operation Dry Spring, a five-week effort to curb underage drinking and drug use during the traditional spring break period.
The effort was held along with the Florida Sheriff’s Task Force, and lasted from March 4 through April 7.
The sheriff’s office said the operation “produced tremendous results,” with six arrests in individuals selling alcohol, tobacco or synthetic drugs to minors, and 23 arrests for alcohol and drug possessions.
Of the 23 arrests, 13 were for marijuana, three were for possession of marijuana and paraphernalia, and one was for the possession of paraphernalia. Five minors were arrested for tobacco possession, and one person was arrested for alcohol possession by a minor.
Undercover compliance checks and alcohol buys were performed at 59 stores throughout Hernando County, with 10 violations. Detectives checked for the sale of synthetic drugs, and two potential violations were sent to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement for testing.
Six bars passed the compliance checks.
“Law enforcement gets to see, firsthand, the devastation intoxicants can have when consumed by our young people,” Sheriff Al Nienhuis said in a media release. “Their youth and inexperience, combined with impaired decision making from drugs or alcohol, is often a fatal mix.”
“Unfortunately, we cannot measure the lives that are spared because of our enforcement efforts and conscientious businesses; we can only measure the failures,” Nienhuis said.
Operation Dry Spring hoped to prevent emergency room visits from excessive drinking, and the sheriff’s office noted “the use of synthetic drugs such as bath salts and spice is on the rise with more than 7,000 reported incidents in 2011, compared to some 3,000 in 2010.”