There's a classic episode of Current TV's Vanguard that takes place in Florida. "Oxycontin Express" took reporter Mariana van Zeller to Broward, where she talked to pill addicts and the people who travel here from out of state to purchase drugs and traffic them elsewhere. It's so good! It won a Peabody Award. But more importantly, it captured a state in crisis.
We are no longer in that crisis, according to a report just released by the CDC.
Thanks Pam Bondi? One of our attorney general's first orders of business was taking down pill mills. It was a dire situation: When she was elected in 2011, seven Floridians were dying every day from prescription drug overdoses. Two years later, none of the top Oxy-dealin' doctors lived here and 870,000 pills had been seized. In all, the turnaround was pretty dope (pun sort-of intended.)
But the South is still in trouble. Just not us. In the infographic that came with the CDC's new report, Florida is a sole spot of orange amidst disastrous purple. The colors mean that while there are 72-82.1 prescriptions for each set of 100 Florida citizens, places like Tennessee and the Carolinas are seeing 96-143 prescriptions.
Florida is actually one of three states touted as a success in the report. On Tuesday, we wrote about a different report released by the CDC, which said 89 percent of the country's Oxy came from us in 2010. Probably because the situation was so screwed up, we were the first state to regulate pain clinics. As a result, there were 50 percent fewer overdoses in 2012 than in 2010. That's kind of a huge deal. Tennessee and New York both took action to prevent patients from seeing multiple doctors, although the former is still listed as one of the biggest problem states.
Although our attorney general, Pam Bondi, certainly has her faults (she called gay marriage harmful to society like, a month ago.), she did a pretty kick-ass job of helping Florida get over its pill problem. And although there are still tons of addicted people living here, this news from the CDC is heartening. It means there will be fewer slaves to Oxycontin in the future. Even if "Oxycontin Express" is pretty much the best TV doco of all time -- it's a great thing that someone couldn't film it in 2014.
"Pam worked tirelessly with the legislature and law enforcement agencies to create and resoundingly pass a comprehensive "pill mill bill" to crack down on this dangerous crime," according to her website. "Pam has continued efforts to keep dangerous drugs off our streets by banning synthetic drugs such as "bath salts," "spice," and "mollies," and by championing awareness programs and take-back days."
To celebrate, check out "Oxycontin Express" if you haven't already. It's the absolute best.
Send your story tips to the author, Allie Conti.
Follow Allie Conti on Twitter: @allie_conti
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