Florida is making progress in one key metric in its continuing war against opioids.
Per the just-released Florida Medical Examiners’ Report, deaths from opioid overdoses are down 10% year over year.
In a media release Thursday, Attorney General Ashley Moody noted the decline, as well as the work ahead.
““While the decline in opioid-related deaths is encouraging, we will not take our foot off the gas. My office is fighting the opioid crisis on multiple fronts — on the streets busting drug traffickers to the courtroom holding major opioid distributors, manufacturers and pharmaceutical companies responsible for their roles in this crisis,” Moody asserted.
Moody helms the Statewide Task Force on Opioid Abuse, which met Thursday.
“This Task Force is another key component of this monumental struggle to end opioid abuse and save lives, and we will continue to tirelessly pursue new measures to help bolster our ongoing efforts to end this crisis ravaging our state,” Moody asserted.
There was some measurable progress year over year.
Opioid-related deaths declined by double digits, down 602 to 5,576.
And opioid-caused deaths saw an even bigger drop, in terms of percentage. They declined by 13%, to 3,727 total.
While the toplines of the report present good news, cause for concern persists.
“Prescription drugs … continued to be found more often than illicit drugs, both as the cause of death and present at death,” the report asserts.
All told, 58 percent of “drug occurrences” in the report are from legal medicines.
However, fentanyl (the leading killer, with a body count of 2,348 in 2018) can be either “illicit” or “pharmaceutically manufactured.”
Fentanyl deaths continue to be a major concern.
The substance itself caused 35 percent more deaths year over year, a stark deviation from the larger trend.
Though the war on “pill mills” that former Attorney General Pam Bondi fought is now in the rearview mirror, what’s clear is that Florida continues to struggle with addiction and the pathologies that lead to overdose deaths.
Charles Everett Ankner
November 21, 2019 at 5:53 pm
Please… give me a damn break… After what our family has been, and is going, through; empty political babble….
Lee H. Alderman
November 22, 2019 at 3:13 pm
Prescribing had nothing to do with increasing the overall drug addiction rate, because it hasn’t changed much in about a century. We closed pill mills by 2015, and the only reason opioid overdoses are down a little is because of Narcan. You, the propaganda wing for Tallahassee on this issue, and Moody are both intentionally omitting deaths from other drug classes. You’re doing statistics wrong. Meth is on the rise. Moody Has to use partial data to claim improvement, because more people are pointing out how Bondi’s approach failed yet she’s still screaming “CRISIS.” Pill mills shifted the preferred drug of choice for some heroin users, and *saved* their lives. Closing them falsified the idiotic “over supply” theory. People who claimed diverted legal pills were the problem can’t reasonably still claim there’s a crisis years after closing them.
Spreading rehab cult and addiction crusader nonsense demonizing legal medicine also allows Moody to hide the fact that deaths from legally opioids requires someone to intentionally fail to follow directions provided by the doctor, pharmacist, and drug manufacturer. You and Ashley are conflating the addiction rate with overdose deaths, which are caused by behavior – NOT access to beneficial technology for personal use (medicine or guns, e.g.). You’re spreading false information instead of following the money handed to recovery nonprofits started by family members of heroin users and friends of elected leaders, who naturally don’t want to blame the ILLICIT drugs killing more addicts (because government cannot interdict them even in its own prison system). They suffer from misplaced guilt, so they seek revenge against pain sufferers. Others rake in millions every year in graft stolen from taxpayers.
As a nation, we have abandoned the concept of personal responsibility by labeling addiction a “brain disease” preventing heroin users from making choices while people with painful conditions are told to suck it up and CHOOSE other options. Government should arguably approve medicine for on-label use and ensure safe manufacture. The prescribing system has been destroyed with the addition of a *special* PDMP database to monitor innocent people who use legal medicine. This irrational logic you support without asking tough questions is causing preventable suffering, suicides, and (ironically) overdoses. You’re spitting on disabled, injured veterans, and elderly Floridians who can no longer access legal pain medicine.
Can you at least ask Moody when she’s planning to sue gun manufacturers for “gun violence,” so republicans might realize she’s not a conservative (nor a Christian)?
Lee H Alderman
November 22, 2019 at 3:29 pm
“Fentanyl deaths continue to be a major concern.”
The ONLY ongoing problem – and it was ALWAYS the only problem other than the effective Prohibition of reliably potent legal medicine – is ILLICIT fentanyl. Check every death of someone notable (Prince, Tom Petty, Bolling’s son, and every addiction-crusader-cum-nonprofit grafter who lost a child) and you’ll see they died using ILLICIT fentanyl, usually unknowingly. Legal fentanyl is a great drug for severe pain sufferers. Stop demonizing it using false statistics.
Some overdose victims were NOT addicts, but pain sufferers who couldn’t access medicine because both major political parties reject the concept of personal responsibility and capitalism. They continue to spread the insane idea that “too many” pills were manufactured and distributed per square foot per person by people who made “too much” profit, and those pills hopped into mouths of unwitting people. Addiction crusaders and authoritarians talk about “stopping stigma” applied to heroin users, even as they expand the stigma by applying it to disabled people suffering from pain.
Pain patients are killing themselves every day. These deaths are preventable. This is a genocide, now that other states are copying the Florida Model.
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