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Drug Abuse by State: Florida

According to a new report in Prescription Drug Abuse: Strategies to Stop the Epidemic, Florida drug abuse has the 11th highest drug overdose death percentage in the United States, with 16.4 per 100,000 people suffering drug overdose mortalities. The amount of drug overdose losses – a majority of which are from prescription drugs – in Florida doubled since 1999 when the rate was 6.4 per 100,000.

Florida Drug Abuse: The Epidemic

Prescription drugs have become an epidemic and the center of Florida drug abuse. Every day in populations from Jacksonville to Fort Lauderdale, thousands of quantities of potent narcotics like oxycodone are distributed in pain clinics — storefront operations also named “pill mills.” About 30 years ago, the Broward County Sheriff’s office was raiding crack houses and busting junkies and now the drug dealers are working out of strip malls, stated Al Lamberti.

Lamberti heads the sheriff’s office in a region that contains Fort Lauderdale. It’s a town that has become a endpoint not just for spring breakers but also for addicts and drug traffickers. “We have more pain clinics than [we have] McDonald’s [restaurants],” he stated. “They’re taking their toll.” Lamberti newly united with a dozen federal, state and local law enforcement officials at a news conference held to publicize a most important shutdown on Florida’s pill mills. It was a sequence of raids, from Palm Beach to Miami, which involved more than 20 arrests and the confiscation of more than $22 million in cash, striking cars and real estate.

Florida Drug Abuse: Oxycodone Prescriptions

Doctors in Florida advocate 10 times more oxycodone pills than all other states in the country united. Individuals come from all over the Southeast to visit the state’s pain clinics. Usually, doctors give them a fast exam and then a prescription for a strong painkiller. Occasionally, they even fill the prescription on the properties. Special agent for the Drug Enforcement Administration, Mark Trouville, says that over the previous year the combined law enforcement operation has made more than 300 undercover drug purchases from pain clinics — and more arrests are pending. At the news conference, Trouville had a notice for pill mill workers: “If you’re a clinic owner or a doctor or an employee knowingly working at one of these pill mills, we have probably bought dope from you. And we are probably coming to see you soon.”

Florida Drug Abuse: There is No System for Monitoring Prescriptions

A major reason pill mills have multiplied in Florida is because, different from most other states, it doesn’t have a system for observing drug prescriptions. Law enforcement officers say that would support preventing “doctor shopping” — individuals who travel from one clinic to another, purchasing hundreds of amounts of prescription drugs. In fact, Florida does have a prescription drug databank. After years of petitioning by law enforcement, the state Legislature approved a bill last session to generate one. It just didn’t deliver money to pay for it. A private foundation marched in and began raising moneys for the databank. But newly, Gov. Rick Scott has come out against it. Scott hasn’t said much about why he wants to eradicate it. When pressed at the latest news conference, he stated: “I believe it’s an invasion of privacy and … it appears that the money’s been wasted.”

Florida Drug Abuse:

In the previous few weeks, an increasing amount of declarations in Florida and outside the state have called on Scott to drop his disapproval to the drug monitoring program. Several of Scott’s criticizers come from states with their own oxycodone rises powered by addicts and drug traffickers who make consistent trips to Florida. It’s a trip down Interstate 75 some now call the “oxy express.” In Florida, law enforcement authorities say the restriction on pill mills will carry on but that they can’t arrest their way out of the issue. They’re calling for firmer regulation of doctors and backing for the statewide drug databank. At this time, all they have to do is persuade the governor. If you or a loved one are struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll free 1-800-951-6135.


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