Prescription drugs killed almost 2,500 Floridians in 2009 – equivalent to nearly seven deaths each day, says the Orlando Sentinel. This year’s local death toll is on track to match or surpass 2009. “It’s terribly tragic because each one of those numbers represents a human being,” said director Bruce Grant of the Florida Office of Drug Control. “If Florida had seven manatees washing up on its shores every day, I think the legislature would be in session 24-7 to do something about it.”
Central Florida’s top law-enforcement officers say they’re doing what they can to stop the death rate – they’re busting “pill mills,” where doctors can write dozens of prescriptions a day for powerful painkillers, as well abusers and street-level traffickers. The addictive pills continue to make their way on to the streets and into homes. And their misuse continues to be deadly. Prescription drug abuse crosses all socioeconomic lines and all age groups, said Dr. Jan Garavaglia, chief medical examiner for Orange and Osceola counties. Officials say the drugs are readily available and people assume they are safe simply because they were prescribed by a doctor.