Teaming Up for Drug Free

Deputy Chief Jorge Aguilera welcomes Drug Free Collier to their Prevention Office. Aguilera is shown here with Melanie Black, Executive Director of Drug Free Collier

Deputy Chief Jorge Aguilera welcomes Drug Free Collier to their Prevention Office. Aguilera is shown here with Melanie Black, Executive Director of Drug Free Collier

United by a common goal of reducing local drug overdose calls, the North Naples Fire Control and Rescue District and Drug Free Collier are capitalizing on their new
partnership to improve outcomes. With a new satellite office recently approved by the NNFD, Drug Free Collier will work alongside responders and provide valuable resources to advance their shared mission to save lives.

Drug Free Collier and the NNFD recognize that prevention is vital. “By teaming up, we hope to educate each other about current drug use in our community,” said Melanie Black, Executive Director of Drug Free Collier. “We want to stay ahead of potential threats and not wait until it’s too late. By making parents aware of possible trends, young lives could be saved,” she added.

Last year, NNFD responded to 35 drug overdose calls, with more than one third involving children. That number is expected to increase based on overdose calls to-date within the district. Tracking this kind of data will clearly help local prevention partners work on solutions. By collaborating with multiple sectors in the community, Drug Free Collier tracks data, identifies trends, and develops strategies to reduce teen substance abuse in Collier County.

With up-to-date information, Drug Free Collier recently alerted first responders about an emerging local threat known as “dabbing.”

nnfd logoHighly potent concentrates of THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) are being extracted from marijuana by young users with butane canisters and blow torches. This twist on an old drug creates new and serious risks for both the user and the community at-large. “Our major concern is that they are using something that is explosive and very flammable,” said Jorge Aguilera, Deputy Chief of the NNFD. Earlier this year, an explosion in a residential neighborhood in Boca Raton was linked to making this drug.

For first responders who are on emergency calls, this information could prove invaluable.

“We want parents to be aware as greater access to marijuana continues to be a concern,” she added. “In states with legalized marijuana or medical marijuana these incidents appear to be increasing,” Black said. Dabbing is also known as BHO or wax.

“This partnership is in line with our Department’s mission of providing a healthier and safer community”, said Orly Stolts, Fire Chief. “We are excited about our partnership and look forward to building a stronger relationship with positive results for the better of this community,” Chief Stolts added.

“With help from key partners, like the North Naples Fire Department, we are making a difference,” said Black. “Finding common ground is critical to helping us find solutions.” “We cannot do this alone and we are extremely grateful for this generous support,” she added.

By opening a satellite office at the NNFD, Drug Free Collier will be able to provide greater access to community members, parents and others who are looking for resources to protect children from substance abuse. This project will better meet the growing needs of our community and allow Drug Free Collier to more effectively collaborate with key partners. Additional outcomes include the ability of Drug Free Collier to engage new volunteers, interns and community partners to work on solutions for preventing teen substance abuse.

Drug Free Collier’s satellite office will be located at 6495 Taylor Road with the NNFD Fire Prevention Bureau.

To join our prevention efforts or to learn more, please contact Drug Free Collier by phone at 239.377.0535 or NNFD, Jorge Aguilera, Deputy Chief at 239.597.3222.

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