How area first responders are working to prevent overdose deaths

Flagler County deputies make arrests, seize drugs in ‘Operation Meth Side Story’; JFRD holds overdose reversal training seminar

Drug overdoses are taking the lives of hundreds of thousands of people every year in the United States.

Drug overdoses are taking the lives of hundreds of thousands of people every year in the United States.

Law enforcement agencies are throwing all of their resources at drug dealers to put a stop to the trafficking of killer drugs, while local firefighters are trying to train the public in reversing the effects.

The Flagler County Sheriff’s Office announced Thursday the arrests of 13 people in what was called “Operation Meth Side Story,” with deputies saying they’re searching for five more people. The Sheriff’s Office said the investigation resulted in the confiscation of enough narcotics to “kill the entire population of Palm Coast.”

“We’ve had 12 overdoses this year, not including three that we had within the last seven days,” Staly said.

Staly said toxicology tests are still pending to determine if Flagler County’s latest overdoses are in any way connected to the arrests in the operation spanning more than two months.

A closer look at the suspects’ criminal records reveal that out of those accused of trafficking, selling or possessing various drugs, it was the first drug arrest for only one suspect.

Deputies said the nearly 180 grams of fentanyl they’ve confiscated so far alone in their county are capable of killing tens of thousands of people.

“The drugs we are seeing on the street are so strong, that it’s now requiring — where you could do one Narcan nasal shot before when this epidemic started quite frankly — now we’re having to use two and and three,” Staly said.

In the first six months of 2022, Flagler County deputies said, Narcan was administered by deputies 180 times.

Narcan is a nasal spray that rapidly reverses a suspected opioid overdose. It’s commonly used on people who are not responding or believed to be near death.

The drug overdose epidemic has gotten so concerning that the Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department and Drug Free Duval hosted an online overdose reversal training seminar, with the goal of informing the members of the public how to use Narcan if they need to save someone’s life.

“First, we’ve got to check for responsiveness by the sternal rub. Second, we’re going to call 911. Third, we’re going to administer the Narcan, and fourth, we’ve got to put the patient in their recovery position,” said a presenter during the seminar.

According to organizers, at the end of December last year, more than 107,000 Americans died of a drug overdose. It’s just one of the reasons why JFRD is offering Duval County residents free Narcan nasal spray kits in hopes of reversing the trend.

“People using heroin or any other drug that has fentanyl in it, whether they know it or not. I know Sally talked about fentanyl being added into cocaine, counterfeit pills, all of these different drugs. You may say you don’t use an opioid and use something else, well guess what? It could have fentanyl in it, and you can overdose,” the presenter said.

If you want more information on obtaining overdose reversal training or bringing an in-person training session to your school, workplace, community group or center, contact Laura Viafora Ray at or call 904-255-7730.

A comprehensive directory of resources for at-risk substance use and mental health is available at or by calling 1-800-662-HELP (4357).

About the Author:

Tarik anchors the 4, 5:30 and 6:30 p.m. weekday newscasts and reports with the I-TEAM.