The Florida Department of Law Enforcement and the Florida Attorney General’s Office have announced the first prescription drug death decline in ten years. I reported in March 2012 about AG Pam Bondi’s efforts to curb prescription drug deaths through the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program. The FDLE, DEA, and local law enforcement have all collaborated to shut down pill mills, prosecute doctors abusing their authority, pulling the licenses of drug distributors and pharmacies who violate the law, and arresting abusers who violate the law. Here is the press release from the AG’s Office:
For the first time in nearly a decade, prescription drug-related deaths have declined. I joined Florida Department of Law Enforcement Commissioner Gerald Bailey today to announce that deaths caused by oxycodone plunged by 17.7 percent in 2011 and overall prescription drug deaths fell by 6.37 percent.
While much remains to be done, we should all take a moment to recognize the tremendous milestone we have reached. Thanks to the tireless efforts of everyone engaged in this battle, we have saved lives.
From 2003 through 2010, the number of lives claimed by prescription drug abuse steadily rose each year. Last year’s decrease in prescription drug-related deaths marks an abrupt reversal of that trend.
It has been less than two years since we worked with the Legislature to enact tough new laws and penalties, strengthen regulatory oversight, and enhance interagency coordination. In March of 2011, Governor Scott created Statewide Drug Enforcement Strike Force teams to coordinate statewide efforts to shut down pill mills.
Please take the time to read through the highlights of this report.
-To access the FDLE one-pager, please click here: http://myfloridalegal.com/webfiles.nsf/WF/JMEE-8ZDMPV/$file/FDLEPage.pdf
-To access a multi-page overview, please click here: http://myfloridalegal.com/webfiles.nsf/WF/JMEE-8ZDMQC/$file/Multipage.pdf
-To access graphs, please click here: http://myfloridalegal.com/webfiles.nsf/WF/JMEE-8ZDMQQ/$file/Graphs.pdf
I am truly grateful for the unified efforts among government leaders, the law enforcement community, medical professionals, regulators and community organizations. We will remain vigilant in our efforts to end prescription drug abuse in Florida.
AG Pam Bondi
The FDLE one-pager in the first link is an interesting summary of the drugs identified in deceased persons by Florida Medical examiners.
If your jurisdiction is anything like mine, in recent years you have seen an explosion of crimes related to prescription drug use: robberies, burglaries, thefts, dealing in stolen property, sales and possessions of controlled substances, DUI…and the list goes on.
While it will take some time for this drug-induced crime wave to subside, we are on the right track as far as law enforcement can handle the problem.