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Gadsden County sees nine fentanyl-related deaths, faith leaders react

Posted at 7:12 PM, Jul 07, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-08 09:22:03-04

GADSDEN COUNTY, Fla. (WTXL) — Samuel Washington is mourning the death of his best friend, and wife, Debra Washington.

Debra was one of two women found dead on Friday afternoon in Quincy from a suspected fentanyl-caused overdose.

"It's devastating to me, my family, people that have lost loved ones, it's not just me suffering, there's other people suffering," said Washington.

Washington says that while his family is dealing with the loss of Debra, something needs to be done to stop the rising death toll in Gadsden County. Since Friday, the community has seen over 16 overdoses and nine deaths caused by drugs laced with Fentanyl.

"Loved ones, people crying every day because they lost a loved one from this drug problem," said Washington. "It's a problem."

Deaths like Debra's prompted a conversation between faith leaders, community members, and the Gadsden County Sheriff's Office Thursday afternoon.

Pastor Greg James of Life Church International in Tallahassee said when he heard of the rising deaths in Gadsden County, James and Pastors from across the county knew they had to speak up.

"It's imperative that we let our voices be heard," said James.

Reflecting on four people he knew personally who recently lost to the rise in deaths, Pastor Terrence Milton said he was devastated learning of friends' deaths throughout the week.

"It's been really overwhelming, so I think it's no only impacting me, but several in Gadsden County," said Milton.

For Sheriff Morris Young, with help from the community, he sees a way out for Gadsden County.

"We're going to say no to drugs, we're going to reach deep and pull ourselves out of this," said Sheriff Young.