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Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Florida Prescription Drug Epidemic


The epidemic in Florida continues to rage, with an average of eight deaths a day from prescription drug overdoses. Unbelievably, in Florida alone, prescription (Rx) drug overdoses claimed 16,650 lives from 2003 to 2009, according to a new report released by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). In the past Florida was known for a surplus of cocaine and heroin, which led to a surge of overdoses related to illicit drugs. Today, prescription drug "pill mills", doctor shoppers, and a general misunderstanding regarding the dangers associated with these legal narcotics has led to an epidemic that is spiraling out of control - not just in Florida, but across this great nation.

Prescription medications were implicated in 76 percent of all drug overdose deaths in Florida, while illicit drugs like heroin and cocaine were associated with 33 percent of the deaths. A number of organizations have been developed in the wake of all these unnecessary deaths to try and help educate teenagers and young adults about prescription drugs but it is not enough. The country needs to start looking at pain management in a completely different way if we are ever to get ahead of the problem. There are too many prescription narcotics being produced that are being prescribed for home consumption and the patients are hardly monitored. It might make sense to require all patients prescribed Schedule II drugs, like oxycodone or fentanyl, to go to special dispensaries every day to receive their daily dose; by doing so, we might limit the number of pills that hit the streets and get into the wrong hands.

There is not going to be one solution to this ever growing problem, but something needs to be done - fast! Too many people have died already for this problem to continue to be ignored.

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