Members of the Okaloosa County Drug Task Force destroyed nearly three millions dollars worth of synthetic drugs Wednesday that they seized over the last year. They hope it will send a strong message to college students visiting the area for spring break.
"We're trying to be proactive to let people understand that first and foremost we're a family friendly vacation area. Family friendly entertainment. We want to make sure that the safety of our visitors and citizens is paramount in our minds" said Walton County Sheriff Michael Adkinson.
Area law enforcement agencies were the first in the state to see the synthetic drug problem two years ago, and pushed for new state laws banning the substances.
"We want to make our visitors and our locals aware that these substances are illegal and we want to make our visitors and locals aware that these substances are dangerous" said Okaloosa County Sheriff Larry Ashley.
Ashley says his officers have been working to rid retail store shelves of the synthetic drugs by the beginning of spring break.
"Well we don't want our kids to come here and ingest these substances thinking they're legal and safe" said Ashley.
"We're working hand in hand with folks in northwest Florida to make sure folks are safe" said Ashley.
"We want people to come down here we want them to enjoy themselves but we simply will not tolerate behavior that is unlawful or detrimental to our community and the people who live here year round" said Adkinson.
Ashley has also implemented the gold star campaign, urging convenience stores against selling synthetic drugs.