It's only February, but Orange County's sheriff says there's a record number of opioid overdose deaths.
- Orange County seeing 120% increase in opioid overdose deaths
- Also 191 overdose cases since the beginning of the year
- Majority in the area of South OBT and Holden Heights
On Wednesday, Sheriff Jerry Demings announced his team has seen a 120 percent increase this year -- from 10 overdose deaths in 2017 to 22 overdose deaths in the same six-week time frame.
Among the dead was University of Central Florida senior Jennifer Seckinger, 25.
“I watched her go from a superb athlete to a very sickly looking child,” Seckinger’s father, George said.
Seckinger says he tried to do everything to help his daughter get away from the drugs he believes she was secretly taking for years. With just two classes left until graduating from UCF, Jennifer was found in an Orlando hote,l dead from an overdose on Jan. 8.
"I keep asking myself…What could I do different? And I cannot answer that,” Seckinger said.
That's something Demings and his deputies are also grappling with, because they've had to respond to 191 overdose cases since the beginning of the year.
“We are seeing people dying today. And we have this duty to warn people that we are seeing some bad stuff on our streets today,” Demings said.
While Demings says his team is aggressively pursuing drug dealers and working with federal agencies to stop the distribution of opioids, he said he needs the community to step up, speak out and find help for people addicted to prevent what happened to Jennifer from happening again.
We were told the majority of the overdose cases were reported in the South Orange Blossom trail and Holden Heights area. However, the sheriff also said it's happening throughout Orange County.