Florida has long been known as a hub for pill mills; that is, shady and illegitimate “doctor’s offices” (and we use that term loosely) that prescribe painkillers – such as oxycontin, oxycodone, and hydrocodone – to just about any and everyone who wanders in off the street. These pill mills have contributed to the widespread use, abuse, and addiction related to a family of drugs reminiscent of more fearful narcotics like heroin and other opioids. And, worse than the addiction to which prescription painkillers can lead, prescription drugs account for about 45% of all drug-related deaths in the United States, making prescription drug abuse an epidemic deserving of everyone’s attention.
Our troubles with painkillers and prescription drug addiction have garnered a great deal of nationwide attention, particularly from federal drug enforcement agencies and – of importance to those of us in South Florida – the State of Florida’s division of law enforcement. And, we’re happy to say, the results are starting to skew in our favor.
Less Pill Mills Equate to Less Prescription Drug-Related Deaths
Recently, through federal- and state-level government cooperation, pill mills in the state of Florida have stalled in their illegitimate efforts. Doctors selling prescription drugs – in this case oxycodone, which is one of the more popular painkillers abused – saw a 97% drop in pain pills sold from 2010 to 2011, severely putting a dent in the sketchy business model they have chosen to employ in hopes of exploiting an individual’s addiction demons.
This sharp drop in the sale of prescription drugs by way of pill mills has reverberated throughout our community. In 2011 alone, Florida oxycodone-related deaths fell by 17.7% despite the fact that overall drug-related deaths increased by 134.
Our Take on the Curbing of Prescription Drug Abuse
These are, of course, bittersweet news. A perfect world would see the need for drugs and alcohol eradicated, but even the smallest of victories signifies a shift in how substance abuse is combated. We’ve moved from punishing those suffering from the disease of addiction to punishing those profiting from it, from failing to spread awareness to ensuring that individuals are informed as to the dangers of drug – prescription or otherwise – abuse.
As a drug and alcohol addiction treatment center, we see firsthand the effects of painkiller abuse and are constantly striving toward the proper diagnosis and treatment of painkiller abuse. It is a topic we take very seriously, and we encourage you – whether client or not – to learn more about pill mills and the overall effects of prescription drug abuse. Please contact us for further information, and together, we can do our part to ensure that pill mills keep closing and that the number of prescription drug-related deaths keeps falling.