The Florida Sheriff's Task Force used Operation Dry Spring Break to target alcohol and drug abuse by visiting students.
"Operation dry spring was a five week long campaign in conjunction with spring break for the majority of schools across the state" said Florida Sheriff’s Association Executive Director Steve Casey.
The operation resulted in more than five thousand arrests statewide. The majority of those came in Bay, Walton and Okaloosa counties.
"Our goal was to protect the well-being of spring breakers in Florida by targeting youth in possession of alcohol, tobacco or illegal drugs with an emphasis on synthetic narcotics" said Casey.
For operation dry spring break northwest Florida in the number of arrests and enforcement. And the numbers...they don't lie. Bay County authorities arrested nearly two thousand breakers, nearly nineteen hundred for underage drinking. Almost all of the eleven hundred arrests in Walton County were for underage drinking. And of the three hundred-or-so arrests in Okaloosa County two hundred twenty were for underage drinking. Of the five thousand sixteen arrests statewide, nearly thirty-five hundred were for underage drinking.
"Our economy in Northwest Florida are our beaches and the tourism industry. And if we can't protect our kids, whether their college kids or high school kids when they come here they'll stop coming here” said Okaloosa County Sheriff Larry Ashley.
Law enforcement officials say these efforts to step up enforcement will have positive effects in years to come. While Walton County had the most arrests during spring break, Escambia County seized the most synthetic narcotics at ninety-three hundred grams.