In 2014, nearly 24 percent of adults aged 18–44 reported heavy or binge drinking in the past 30 days. More than 17 percent of people aged 45–64 and 12.5 percent of people 65 and older reported engaging in these behaviors. More men reported heavy or binge drinking than women.
Among Lee County residents, non-Hispanic black adults engaged in heavy or binge drinking in the past 30 days at higher rates than Hispanic and non-Hispanic white adults.
LEE COUNTY DRINKING AND DRIVING
Over the last decade, drinking and driving has been a problem in Lee County. The area saw 2,269 DUI citations
in 2014, per the Lee County Coalition for a Drug-Free Southwest Florida.
Among students who drove a vehicle in the past 30 days after consuming alcohol, 6.9 percent were female and 3.9 percent were male. Overall, 5.6 percent of students reported engaging in such behaviors.
Also in 2014, more than 19 percent of students in Lee County reported riding in a vehicle in the past 30 days with a driver who had been drinking. That is a higher figure than the state average.
Notable Drug Busts
A 2014 operation led to the arrest of 31 people in North Fort Myers. The investigation, called “Operation Sundown,” netted 28.4 grams of heroin, 17.3 grams of crack cocaine, hundreds of prescription pills, various drug paraphernalia and $1,772.
In 2016, the Lee County Sheriff’s Office seized more than $1.3 million worth of heroin and cocaine in Bonita Springs. The eight-month operation, dubbed “Taqueria Takedown,” resulted in seven arrests.
Increase in Heroin Overdoses
has been problematic for southwest Florida. Just ask Michelle Johnson.
Johnson was raised in Naples, Florida. As a child, she had a loving and nurturing mother. Nobody would have predicted she would battle addiction as an adult. Then she graduated high school and began using marijuana and ecstasy
. After Johnson gave birth to her daughter, her doctor prescribed Percocet. She later became addicted to the drug and began drinking heavily.
When her doctor cut off her Percocet prescription, she turned to heroin. During this time, she also battled homelessness
. After the birth of her son and the death of her mother, she sought treatment.
“I made the decision I was going to come up here and get clean, and I wasn’t going back until I was,” she told Gulfshore Life magazine.
Lee Memorial Health System has seen a rise in heroin overdoses since 2010. Two-thirds of patients being treated at Lee Memorial’s ERs are white males with an average age of 31.
Lee Memorial emergency departments saw an additional 165 cases involving opioid poisoning in 2014. That year, there were nearly three times as many heroin-related emergency department cases as there were alcohol-related cases.
Learn more about substance abuse trends in Florida.