Florida Sees Significant Drop in Prescription Drug Overdoses, Report Says | New Times Broward-Palm Beach

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Florida Sees Significant Drop in Prescription Drug Overdoses, Report Says

For more than a decade, Florida has had a prescription pill problem. In 2010, 89 percent of all Oxycodone sold in the country came from here and at the same time, 98 of the 100 doctors who prescribed the greatest amounts of Oxycodone from their offices did so from Florida.

But a new study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention looks at the state between 2010-2012, after significant policy changes took place, and the results are encouraging.

The state reported bout 250 pain clinics had been closed by 2013 and of the 98 doctors who had prescribed high volumes of oxycodone, there were only 13 in 2012, and by '13, that number was zero , the New York Times points out.

The study done by the CDC reveals that between 2003 and 2009, the number of deaths caused by drug overdose in Florida increased 61 percent -- from 1,804 to 2,905. This led to significant changes by the state: including crackdowns on how they prescribed pills going forward.

The changes, combined with drops in those numbers, could mean the state's crackdown worked, according to Dr. Thomas Frieden, the director of the C.D.C. "This tells us that policies and enforcement work," Dr. Frieden told the NYT. "This is an epidemic that was caused largely by inappropriate prescribing, and it can be fixed to a significant extent by improving prescribing."

Among the other bits the NYT found in the C.D.C. report:

- There were 668 fewer overdose deaths from opioid painkillers in 2012 than in 2010, but there were 60 more heroin deaths.

- 108 people in Florida died of heroin overdoses in 2012 in total; 2,116 died from prescription drug overdoses.

- In 2012, more than 259 million prescriptions for pain pills were dispensed -- enough for every American adult to get a bottle of them.

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