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Does Prescription Opioid Abuse Still Create Significant Problems Within Florida?

Created On Monday, 21, October 2019
Modified On Wednesday, 30, September 2020

There have been modest decreases in opioid prescribing and use in the state of Florida because of prescription drug monitoring programs and pill mill laws. From July 2010 to September 2012, 2.6 million patients, 431,890 prescribers, and 2829 pharmacies were associated with roughly 480 million prescriptions in Florida and Georgia. Out of all those prescriptions in both states, close to 8% of them were for opioids. The daily prescriptions that were dispensed were higher in Florida, however, as of 2015, the laws in Florida are associated with a decrease in prescribing rates. Within 12 months of enacting the different laws, the state saw a 1.4% decrease in opioid prescriptions. There was also a 2.5% decrease in the volume of opioids being prescribed.

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Today, Florida survives on tourism, but in the early 2000s people would travel to Florida because of the illegal pill mills. There were walk-in clinics everywhere where addicts were able to get any type of prescription pain medication they needed. The pill mill industry started in the 1990s, and the clinic's doctors did no diagnosing, and just signed prescriptions. The patients were then shuffled to clinics to fill prescriptions and buy oxycodone and other narcotics at $10 a pill cash. There was a devastating overdose epidemic happening throughout the state of Florida. Tens of thousands of people were dying every year because of the pill mills in Florida.

It was not until 2011 when things started turning around in Florida because of pressure from the media and public outcry. By 2014 there were 371 pain treatment clinics, whereas in 2013 there were 921 pain treatment clinics in Florida. Opioids today are still a problem in Florida, but it has shifted to heroin and synthetic opioids such as fentanyl. The pill mills in Florida have often been considered the gateway causing people all across the nation to become addicted to opioids.

CONTRIBUTORS TO THIS ARTICLE

Nickolaus Hayes - Author

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