Drug Deaths Decline in Florida


In September, the Florida Medical Examiners and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement disseminated the Drugs Identified in Deceased Persons Report for 2012.  The report identified 8,330 drug-caused and/or drug-related deaths in the 178,000 Floridians who died in 2012, as reported to the Office of Vital Statistics.

The report cited 17.7% fewer drug-caused deaths in 2012 verses 2011, a decrease of 2,090 persons.  Drug-related deaths, where at least one legal or illegal drug was present in the decedent’s body but was not necessarily the cause of death, dropped 9.9% to 4,944.  Oxycodone killed 41.1% fewer Floridians in 2012.  Deaths attributed to alprazolam, diazepam, hydrocodone, and methadone decreased as well.

Said Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi, “When I took office, there were more than 7 Floridians dying a day from prescription drug overdoses….of the top 100 oxycodone dispensers, these are doctors, 98 of them lived in Florida. Now we’re down to zero…There used to be pill mills on every corner and now they’re virtually gone.”

Under AG Bondi’s watch, seven regional Drug Enforcement Strike Forces had closed 254 clinics and arrested 76 doctors from May 2011 to August 2013.  Over 875,000 prescription pills had been seized.  A total of 4,226 persons had been charged in illicit drug operations.  These statewide investigations, in addition to the Prescription Drug Monitoring Database, have certainly resulted in at least some of the drug death decline.

Despite Florida’s overall crime rate being down by 42%, law enforcement must remain vigilant to all drug trends in light of these reported results.  While cocaine-related deaths were down by 8.1% in 2012, deaths caused by heroin increased 89.5% to a total of 108.  Before cheering a decline in certain prescription drug death rates, note that deaths related to the opioids Fentanyl, Tramadol, and Hydromorphone rose 16.4%, 20.3%, and 63.6%, respectively.  That accounted for over 1,100 of the cases.

While the results of the FME’s report is encouraging, there is still much work to be done on this front.


This entry was posted in Misc., Street and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *