First Coast News reports that seven people die every day in Florida of prescription painkillers such as OxyContin. Now Florida has a new tool to crackdown on illegal prescription drug use. The state’s prescription drug database went online Thursday, September 1. Now whenever a pharmacy, doctor or hospital dispenses certain painkillers, they must enter that information into the database within seven days. There are some concerns whether the software will be fully functional all at once. Pharmacies must collect information to enter into the record on a weekly basis. There are about 4,000 pharmacies in Florida and every one must be in compliance with the program. Doctors writing prescriptions for painkillers must also use tamper resistant prescription pads because of problems with false prescriptions being written by non-doctors.
Abuse of Prescription Drugs
The newly released 2010 Florida Medical Examiners Commission Report on Drugs Identified in Deceased Persons found 5,647 people died in Florida with one or more prescription drugs in their system. Prescription pharmaceuticals caused the most deaths at 2,710 and among them oxycodone was responsible for 1,516 deaths. Benzodiazepines caused 981 deaths (Xanax), and 694 were due to methadone.
The report found that in Florida, deaths caused by oxycodone in 2010 were up by 27.9% as compared with 2009.
Gov. Rick Scott, who had a brother addicted to prescription medication, launched a statewide sweep this year that yielded 937 arrests including 17 doctors and $1.68 million in cash along with 252,000 pills.
Oxy addicts sometimes turn to heroin, as OxyWatchdog reports. The founder’s brother died of a heroin overdose.