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Clay County previews third annual ‘Hammer and Hope’ event, aimed at combatting drug crisis

CLAY COUNTY, Fla. — On Wednesday, community leaders in Clay County met to discuss their upcoming, third annual, “Hammer and Hope” event.

The event is aimed at combatting what county officials call the pressing issue of drug overdoses in the community.

And according to statistics provided by the Clay County Sheriff’s Office, their narcotics division has already seized over 450 grams of cocaine, 450 grams of fentanyl, and nearly 300 grams of methamphetamines, so far this year.

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“If you are dealing drugs in Clay County, we’re going to find and arrest you,” said Clay County Sheriff Michelle Cook at Wednesday’s event.

However, while enforcement, or the “hammer” part of the operation is a vital aspect, it’s just one piece of the puzzle.

Friday’s “Hammer and Hope” event focuses on the latter, providing rehabilitation and community services to those struggling with drug addiction, free of consequences.

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“If you want help, if you need help, if you have a family member that wants or needs help and you show up Friday, we’re gonna give you a pathway out,” said Sheriff Cook on Wednesday. “We’re gonna assist you, we’re not gonna arrest you Friday.”

And during Wednesday’s meeting, Stephanie Ortega with Aware Recovery Care talked about just how important and life changing these efforts can be against the horrific struggles of drug addiction.

“It really does consume a person’s entire and their families almost have to mourn the loss of them. So the community needs to come together to support them,” said Ortega.

Friday’s event will run from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Church Eleven 22 on Blanding Boulevard in Orange Park.

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