Santa Rosa County Sheriff's Office
Crime Prevention Unit
RX Drug Abuse in Florida
An Epidemic of Deaths
Stories are all over the evening news and morning talk shows about the abuse of prescription drugs and the important thing to remember in almost all of these cases is that they start from innocence. Some people become addicted to these drugs under the false belief that taking a drug that is legally prescribed, even if it is not prescribed to them, is safe because it is a legally prescribed drug and many others become addicted after having the drug prescribed to them for a legitimate illness or injury.
Here are some startling facts about prescription drug abuse in Florida . It is time we all take a look at what is inside our medicine cabinets and get rid of what we do not need.
_ An average of 7 persons die everyday in Florida because of lethal overdoses from the illegal, non-medical misuse of one or more prescription drugs.
_ An additional 7 persons die daily with at least one prescription drug detected often in combination with alcohol or other drugs. That is a total of 14 deaths per day in Florida related to prescription drug abuse.
_ 5,275 persons died in Florida , during 2009 and another 2,579 in the first half of 2010 with at least one prescription drug in their system identified as either the cause of death or present in the decedent.
_ Most of these deaths were preventable.
_ Treatment admissions for prescription opioid (pain relievers) addiction increased 5½ times in Florida over the past decade. Among those aged 12 to 30, the number of prescription opioid treatment clients rose from 488 in 1999 to 7,649 in 2009, a 1,467-percent increase.
_ The rate of hospital emergency department cases for non-medical oxycodone misuse among those aged 21-25 has greatly increased.
_ Florida leads the nation in the sale of oxycodone with over 400,000,000 pills sold annually.
_ Benzodiazepines ( e.g., Xanax, Klonopin, Valium) and muscle relaxants ( e.g., Soma) are also frequently linked to overdose deaths and medical emergencies across Florida .
_ Among Florida 12th graders in 2010, 11 % have misused a prescription pain reliever non-medically in their life; 3.4 % have done so in the last month.
_ The number of infants treated for withdrawal symptoms in Florida hospitals increased 173% between 2006 and 2009; 635 cases were reported in the first half of 2010.