Despite Number of Prescription Drug-Related Crimes in Florida, Number of Prescription Drug-Related Deaths is Down
The state of Florida, which has been notoriously in the spotlight for prescription drug fraud and theft, has received some good news in regards to the recurring problem. According to the 2012 Drugs Identified in Deceased Persons Report by Florida Medical Examiners, oxycodone deaths have dropped 41 percent in 2012 and all deaths attributed to prescription drug deaths were down 9.9 percent.
Oxycodone, a pharmaceutical drug, falls into the same category as others such as hydrocodone and alprazolam, which are mostly distributed legally. Illicit drugs, which are illegal in almost all instances, are of the likes of cocaine and morphine.
Governor Rick Scott, Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi, and FDLE Commissioner Gerald Bailey all weighed in positively on the result of the report. Governor Rick Scott credited “Florida at a 42 year crime low” as a good indicator of the results. General Pam Bondi was also pleased, but reaffirmed that “we must remain steadfast in our efforts to save more lives from prescription drug abuse.”
Rick Scott and Pam Bondi worked together to minimize the dissemination of pharmaceuticals from unethical pharmacies and doctors. Along with HB 7095 that created the “Prescription Drug Monitoring Program”, establishments such as pill mills saw their viability greatly diminished.
Pharmaceutical drugs have found themselves in a downward trend for causes of death, but still are more often the cause of death in the report than illicit drugs.
The Umansky Law Firm, a criminal defense law firm located in Orlando, Florida, has represented individuals accused of crimes involving drugs, both pharmaceutical and illicit.
“While laws against pill mills are to be applauded as they have helped decrease the number of deaths, let’s not forget that many people take pain killers for legitimate uses,” said William Umansky, found of The Umansky Law Firm. “Physicians who prescribe such medication legally and reasonably should not be ensnared in aggressive law enforcement stings that could result in an innocent doctor being arrested.”
Other drugs that were the cause of death of users in 2012 included ethyl alcohol, methadone, and morphine.
“One life lost to prescription drugs is one too many”, said Chief Philip Thorne, President of the Florida Police Chiefs Association.