Search Results for: Florida

Florida launches prescription monitoring database

After much delay, Florida’s long-awaited prescription drug monitoring program is finally up and running. Doctors and pharmacists are now required to submit information on each prescription they write for drugs like OxyContin that contain controlled substances within seven days after dispensing. (The state is asking them to voluntarily file information on prescriptions dating back to Dec. 1, 2010, when the law creating the system went into effect.)

A recent study found that deaths caused by oxycodone in the state in 2010 were up by 27.9% as compared with 2009.

Read more about Florida’s struggle with prescription drug addiction here and here.

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Florida’s pill problem: not just a southern thing

Florida’s reputation as Pill Central is nothing new, but often the spotlight is on the state’s southern region. It seems the effects of the painkiller addiction epidemic are now being felt in central Florida as well, according to this article. Jails are filling up with prisoners going through withdrawals and the court system is overwhelmed with cases related to prescription drugs, the article says. So far, the Volusia County narcotics unit has confiscated 18,439 pills through the first six months of the year compared to just under 8,000 pills during all of 2010 (more than 80 percent of which were oxycodone), and more than 9,600 people were arrested for drug offenses in 2010 compared to about 6,000 in 2009, the article says.

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Welcome to Florida

“OxyContin In Your Words” stories are unedited accounts of OxyContin and heroin addiction. Help us break through the shame of addiction and share your own story. Confidentiality, if requested, is assured.


Welcome to Florida, plenty to see
theme parks and beaches, pretty palm trees
we have some secrets we don’t advertise,
our dirty laundry, our dirty lies

No it’s not bed bugs, no it’s far worse
our epidemics are some doctors curse
they open pill mills , they destroy lives
some locals daughters will never be wives

They run cash businesses
they rob our state
once you meet them
it will be unknown fate

Little blue pills just as blue as our sky
take one of them and you to may die.
pick up a paper, you’re bound to see
one of our children dead from an OD

We don’t want you to know about this fleet
your family could go home not as complete.

This is my warning about this drug
everyone please give your child a hug
our local government needs to get tough
frankly I’m tired of writing this stuff.

~ Submitted by Patricia Dye Masi

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Florida’s governor-elect draws fire over drug abuse watchdog shutdown

The governor-elect of Florida, Rick Scott, is attracting criticism for his plans to shut down the office tasked with setting the state’s drug-control policy and reducing substance abuse. Several parents who have lost children to prescription drug overdoses, including April Rovero, have posted on Scott’s Facebook page asking him to reconsider his decision to eliminate Florida’s Office of Drug Control.

To lend your thoughts to the issue, visit Rick Scott’s Facebook Page here and click on “Rick Scott + Others” to post your own thoughts.

Read more about the efforts of Rovero – who founded the National Coalition Against Prescription Drug Abuse after her son, Joey, died in December 2009 from a lethal combination of alcohol and misused prescription medication – here.

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Ga. pharmacy robberies rise after pill mill crackdown

gunPharmacy officials in Georgia are reporting that robberies are occurring with greater frequency in light of the state’s recent crackdown on pill mills. According to this article, Georgia became a pill mill magnet after neighboring states, including Florida, passed tougher laws regulating pain clinics.

Georgia lawmakers passed similar legislation last year requiring pain clinics to be licensed by the state medical board and owned by physicians, and the state also launched a prescription drug monitoring program, the article says. As the pill mills have dwindled, pharmacy officials say people who have addictions are being forced to seek drugs elsewhere, leading to the spike in robberies, the article says.

In 2010 alone, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation Medical Examiner’s Office reported there were 560 prescription drug-related deaths in the 152 of 159 counties for which it performs autopsies — at least a 10 percent increase since 2009.

Florida’s efforts to combat painkiller abuse resulted in the number of pill mills in that state dropping from 854 to 580 between March 2011 and March 2012, according to this article. In that same time period, the number of inappropriate prescribers of OxyContin in Florida dropped from 98 to 11; Florida previously had the most prescribers of OxyContin in the nation, the article says.

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Del. becomes 14th state to pass ‘Good Samaritan’ law

911 dial phone callThe governor of Delaware signed so-called “Good Samaritan” legislation on Tuesday offering protection to anyone seeking medical help in the event of a drug or alcohol overdose, making Delaware the 14th state to pass such a measure. The law gives immunity from prosecution to people reporting an overdose, even if he or she has been involved in drug-related activity.

The bill also grants immunity from prosecution for offenses related to underage drinking.

Lawmakers approved the bill only after exempting higher level drug felonies from its immunity protections, a change that worried some critics who claimed the exemptions weakened the bill and would discourage people from reporting overdoses.

In Delaware, overdose deaths nearly tripled from 50 in 1999 to 137 in 2009, with a majority in recent years involving at least one prescription drug, according to this article.

New Mexico was the first state to pass a Good Samaritan law in 2007, followed by California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Massachusetts, New York, Rhode Island, Washington, and the District of Columbia. According to TheFix.com, this year, nearly a dozen more states introduced bills: legislation in North Carolina and New Jersey succeeded, while other bills failed due to partisan bickering (Missouri, Mississippi and North Dakota), were killed in committee (New Hampshire and West Virginia), or ran out of time (Hawaii and Texas); Maine still has a live bill, but it isn’t likely to pass this year.

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Fla. clinic to serve opiate-addicted babies

babybottleIn Florida, the prescription drug addiction epidemic has resulted in more pregnant mothers giving birth to children who are already addicted to opiates. To deal with this troubling issue, the Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome Clinic at All Children’s Outpatient Care in Sarasota has begun providing a variety of free services for addicted babies from birth to 24 months of age, according to this article.

In the last two to three years, Sarasota Memorial Hospital saw an increase in drug-addicted newborns of about 700%, the article says. Statewide, seven out of 1,000 babies born in Florida have neonatal abstinence syndrome, which involves symptoms such as inconsolable crying, tremors, seizures, diarrhea and vomiting. In 2011, 1,563 newborns were diagnosed with drug exposure in Florida, according to the article.

Most NAS cases involve non-Hispanic white infants, the article adds, and nearly half of women who delivered a baby diagnosed with NAS received prenatal care in a private physician’s office.

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Walgreens to pay $80M over black-market Oxy sales

bunchofpillsThe U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency announced Tuesday that Walgreens has agreed to shell out $80 million to settle allegations that it allowed oxycodone and other controlled drugs to be diverted for black market sales from its Jupiter, Fla., distribution center.

The settlement, which is the largest in the DEA’s history, comes after the agency accused Walgreens last year of failing to maintain proper controls to ensure it didn’t dispense drugs to addicts and drug dealers.

According to the DEA, the Jupiter distribution center has been the single largest distributor of oxycodone products in Florida since 2009. In 2011, 16 of the top 25 largest oxycodone purchasers by Walgreens retail pharmacies, including the top six purchasers, were in Florida and supplied by the Jupiter center, the agency said.

Walgreens “committed an unprecedented number of record-keeping and dispensing violations” under the Controlled Substances Act, which is designed to prevent prescription painkillers from ending up on the streets, the DEA said.

In addition to the payout, Walgreens’ Jupiter center is banned from distributing and dispensing similar controlled substances until 2014. The deal also resolves similar investigations nationwide, including in Colorado, Michigan, and New York.

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Vt. becomes 13th state to pass ‘Good Samaritan’ law

911 dial phone callThe governor of Vermont signed so-called “Good Samaritan” legislation on Wednesday offering protection to anyone seeking medical help in the event of a drug or alcohol overdose, making Vermont the 13th state to pass such a measure. The law extends both to people seeking assistance for themselves and for others, and seeks to prevent overdose deaths by empowering witnesses to report such episodes quickly without fear of legal repercussions, according to this article.

Drug overdoses were responsible for killing 73 people in Vermont last year, and remain the leading cause of injury death to state residents between the ages of 25 and 64, the article says.

Separately on Wednesday, the governor also gave the stamp of approval to a measure that will increase access to naloxone, a medication used to reverse opiate overdose, the article says. Under that law, doctors who prescribe naloxone to opiate-using patients and bystanders who administer the drug to an overdose victim will no longer be to subject to civil liabilities resulting from rare adverse reactions to the drug, according to the article.

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More residents using Ky. involuntary treatment law

head-in-hands-manAs the prescription drug and heroin epidemic in Kentucky has worsened, residents have been taking advantage of a law that allows parents or other concerned people to petition the court to order involuntary drug treatment for an adult, according to this article. The Matthew Casey Wethington Act for Substance Abuse Intervention, enacted in 2004, is named for Casey Wethington of Kenton County, who died of a heroin overdose in August 2002 at age 23, the article says. More than a dozen states have laws dealing with involuntary commitment for addiction treatment, including Florida and Ohio.

Fewer than 10 Casey’s Law petitions were filed in Boone, Campbell and Kenton counties each year from 2004 through 2008, the article notes, but cases for the three counties jumped to a total of 20 in 2009 and in 2010, then shot up to 66 in 2011 and 71 in 2012 as the opiate epidemic progressed.

Heroin use in Kentucky has exploded in the past decade, fed by sophisticated supply networks focused on mostly white suburban and rural users who have become hooked on prescription painkillers, according to an earlier article by the Cincinnati Enquirer.

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