COLLIER COUNTY, Fla. - A Naples man is behind bars for a second time in three days after allegedly forging prescriptions to get pain pills. Jason Giovenco was first arrested on Tuesday and released on bond. But now, he's back in custody.
It's a case of forging and filling, and narcotics investigators say the problem is growing by the day. Giovenco is accused of forging two local doctors signatures, all to get Oxycodone from a pharmacy.
Collier County Sheriff's Office investigators say his case comes as no surprise.
"They will re-offend. Most of them within 24 hours of getting out of jail," said Lt. Harold Minch of the Collier County Sheriff's Narcotics Division.
They say perscription drug abuse is becoming an epidemic in Southwest Florida. The Sheriff's Office seized six-million dollars worth of narcotics last year alone, an alarming 188% increase from three years before.
"It is a big problem. We work on it quite a bit. The cases are deep. The cases are paper trails between doctors. Many doctors and pharmacies locally are very helpful," Minch said Friday.
Investigators say addicts and dealers don't fit the profiles they used in the past.
"The thing about this issue is that it knows no race, no gender, no region, no socioeconomic background or education level," said Anne Frazier of Drug Free Collier, a non-profit agency.
As for a solution, the Sheriff's Office says locking them up is only delaying the problem.
"It is the most powerful physical addiction you can have. So they get to a point where they don't care about going to jail. So you can either keep them in jail, or treat their addiction," Minch said.
The Sheriff's Office reports 49 people died in Collier County with large amounts of oxycodone in their system last year. As for Giovenco, the latest arrest report shows he's being held in jail on no bond.