Drug-Related Deaths Rise in Florida; Prescription Drug Fatalities Fall


The number of drug-related deaths in Florida rose slightly last year, but authorities saw a drop in the number of deaths caused by prescription drugs, the Miami Herald reports. The number of deaths blamed on cocaine, heroin and the powerful cancer pain medication Fentanyl all went up. Overall, alcohol continued to be the most popular substance found in drug-related deaths. Prescriptions drugs continued to cause more deaths than illegal drugs.

And the number of people who died overall in drug-related deaths climbed, just a bit, by 134 people. It went from 9,001 in 2010 to 9,135 in 2011. But the number of cases in which people died because of prescription drugs dropped. The decrease comes as state and local authorities have worked to crack down on illicit “pill mills,” where prescriptions for drugs like Oxycodone are often given with little care and few questions asked. From 2010 to 2011, the number of people who died with a fatal amount of prescription drugs in their systems fell 6.37 percent. The number who had prescription drugs in their system, and it may or may not have caused death, dropped 2.8 percent. Oxycodone deaths dropped more than 17 percent.

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