Fla. Oxy overdose deaths up 27.9% in 2010

In Florida, deaths caused by oxycodone in 2010 were up by 27.9% as compared with 2009, according to the newly-released 2010 Florida Medical Examiners Commission Report on Drugs Identified in Deceased Persons. Medical examiners who performed more than 9,000 drug-related autopsies found that in 2010, 5,647 people died with one or more prescription drugs in their system. Of those cases, prescription drugs were the cause of death for 2,710 individuals, marking an 8.9 percent increase over 2009. Oxycodone was responsible for the most deaths (1,516), compared to 981 deaths caused by benzodiazepines (981 of which were caused by Xanax), 694 due to methadone, 572 due to alcohol and 561 due to cocaine.

Despite these numbers, Florida officials maintain they are reining in the state’s prescription drug abuse epidemic. Gov. Rick Scott and law enforcement officials noted that there has been a 17% drop in the number of oxycodone purchases by pharmacies and health care providers during the first five months of this year after pill mill legislation was passed. Scott also announced that a statewide strike force has resulted in 937 arrests, including 17 doctors and the seizure of more than 252,000 pills as well as $1.68 million in cash.

The big question now is what will happen to all the Oxy addicts in need of a fix. According to this article, it looks like the answer will be either rehab or heroin.

About Erin Marie Daly

I’m a freelance journalist based in San Francisco. My book on prescription drug and heroin addiction was published in August 2014 by Counterpoint Press.
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