Consumer Alert
10/30/2008



Attorney General Issues Advisory Encouraging a Safe Halloween

~ Parents are encouraged to talk to their children about safety tips prior to the holiday ~

TALLAHASSEE, FL – Attorney General Bill McCollum today issued a consumer advisory with tips for enjoying a safe Halloween, encouraging parents to exercise caution and talk with their children about staying safe. Halloween can be a safe and fun holiday for children and families, but the Attorney General urged parents and children alike to be careful amid reports of candy-flavored drugs and the potential for encountering a registered sex offender or predator while trick-or-treating. Attorney General McCollum also reminded parents and children to report any suspicious activity to local law enforcement, and to use tools provided by the authorities to have a safer holiday.

Federal and state law enforcement agencies have reported that flavored drugs, particularly methamphetamines, heroin and marijuana, are circulating throughout the United States and could be ingested by unsuspecting children. Law enforcement information reports that candy-flavored methamphetamine can be mistaken for candy pop rocks. Additional reports of gumballs filled with marijuana and narcotics packaged or disguised as candy or other more enticing objects should be considered serious threats to children.

Parents should be advised to check their children's candy for anything which may resemble one of these new drug forms and children should turn over any in their possession to their parents, teacher, principal, or school resource officer. Parents should also encourage their children to avoid any participation in distributing or using the drugs, no matter how harmless they may seem, and report any suspicious activity to the appropriate authorities or a trusted adult.

Attorney General McCollum also encouraged families to visit the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE)’s sex offender tracking website, http://www.flsexoffender.net, before heading out for trick-or-treating. The "Offender Search" button at the top of the website allows users to enter any Florida address and obtain a list of all registered sex offenders and predators living within a one-quarter to five-mile radius. Families may also sign up for the Florida Offender Alert System by clicking the "Offender Alert" button at the top of the web page. The system sends e-mail alert notifications when registered sexual offenders or predators move into a neighborhood or any other location you designate.

FDLE developed the Offender Alert System at the direction of the Florida Legislature as part of the state’s compliance with the federal Adam Walsh Act. Citizens may select an unlimited number of addresses and/or offenders and predators to track, and can update their selections at any time. The alert system will send e-mail notifications within 24 to 48 hours of an address change to the state’s registry. There are more than 48,000 registered sexual offenders and predators in the Florida Sex Offender Registry.

The Florida Offender Alert System is offered through FDLE’s web site and on many local law enforcement agencies’ web sites throughout the state.