ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (WFLA) — A Tampa Bay area organization is working to reduce the number of opioid overdoses and deaths in its communities.
The coalition spread out at high school football games across the area Friday night hoping to save lives.
Jennifer Webb is with Live Tampa Bay, a coalition of businesses, faith and law enforcement leaders committed to reducing overdose deaths across the Tampa Bay area.
As students and parents walked in the stadium, Webb greeted them with a smile and offered them DisposeRx at-home medication disposal packets.
The Tampa Bay partnership says more than 1,200 people died of opioid related deaths in Tampa Bay in 2020, up 36% from 2019.
“You give somebody the tool they might use,” Webb said. “You give somebody the information, they probably throw it away. You combine those things together and you increase the likelihood that they’ll actually use it.”
She handed out medication disposal kits and literature on the eve of National Prescription Drug Take Back Day. For Webb, what she was doing Friday night was personal.
Webb’s sister Allison Grace Honeycutt died from an opioid overdose in 2019. She was 19 years old.
“A friend of hers reached into her grandmother’s medicine cabinet and pulled out a prescription of OxyContin, and Alison was off to the races and developed an opioid addiction every time,” Webb said. “This was the age when a friend thought it was harmless and when her the trajectory of her life completely changed.”
This is why on a Friday night, there’s no place she’d rather be because she knows she could save someone’s life.
“Football brings community together and we want our communities to be healthy,” Webb said. “With all of the information that we have and all of the ways that we know to save people’s lives, this is one of them that we absolutely need to get out into our communities and into our family’s homes.”
Live Tampa Bay worked with the St. Petersburg Police Department, Tampa Police Department, Pasco County Sheriff’s Office and Citrus County Sheriff’s Office.