The Broward Sheriff’s Office is continuing its efforts to combat the community’s opioid epidemic by deploying MX908©, a new and innovative piece of technology designed to quickly and safely determine the presence of a number of dangerous illegal drugs and substances such as fentanyl and its many deadly analogs.
BSO was able to obtain this technology through a collaborative partnership with the Department of Health Broward (DOH) via the Overdose Data to Action grant. The grant was funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The rollout of the program occurred during the second week of November 2020 following a two-day training session at BSO’s Department of Community Programs Training Room in Lauderdale Lakes. Members from BSO’s law enforcement, detention and fire rescue departments participated in the training sessions concentrated on proper use of the device and its capabilities.
The MX908© is capable of identifying hundreds of dangerous substances in trace amounts, making field detection much safer for operators by limiting exposure to larger amounts of substances. A small amount of the drug fentanyl can be extremely dangerous and even deadly.
Four MX908© instruments were acquired and distributed to selected units within BSO. To date, the instruments have been utilized dozens of times and have helped BSO deputies identify a number of illicit drugs and cutting agents including: heroin, fentanyl, cocaine and methamphetamine. Information gathered via the devices will help BSO and its community partners allocate resources to areas of most concern.
The use of multiple drugs at one time is a major concern. According to the December 2020 report from the United Way of Broward County Commission on Behavioral Health & Drug Prevention, data from the Florida Medical Examiners Commission shows an increasing occurrence of several substances being found among deceased persons in Broward County in 2019. In total, 92 percent of deaths from fentanyl occurred in combination with another substance, and 100 percent of fentanyl analog-related deaths, or drugs that mimic the effects of fentanyl, occurred in combination with another substance.
BSO understands that interdiction, educational efforts and other resources are integral to combatting the opioid epidemic in our community which is why it has partnered with the DOH Broward, CDC and the United Way Commission on Behavioral Health and Drug Prevention to further tackle this issue.