Florida has recently been facing a difficult, dangerous, and massive problem involving the overprescription of opioid medications. In response to what were called “pill mills” — places where unethical doctors were willing to write prescriptions for a buck rather than a medical reason — Florida outlawed the practice. And a practice which may have been more widespread and far-reaching than you think. A new study from Johns Hopkins University reports that the law (at least supposedly) prevented many fatalities from opioid drugs.
The report went on to add that a decrease in heroin-related deaths might have resulted from 2010 and 2011 changes in the law, reported Forbes. This is significant because many theories about opioid withdrawal predict addicts switching over to heroin, something which there is now evidence against.
The report went on to add that a decrease in heroin-related deaths might have resulted from 2010 and 2011 changes in the law.
Dr. Daniel Webster, a professor of health policy and management at Johns Hopkins University’s Bloomberg School of Public Health, was quoted by UPI as having said that “this study underscores that the sharp rise in prescription opioid overdose deaths has become a public health epidemic that is driven, in part, by major criminal enterprises,” and that “our new study demonstrates that the right laws and strategic enforcement can prevent addiction and save many lives.”
The accumulated results of the study show that approximately 1,029 fewer people in Florida died of prescription drug overdoses than would have done so without the 2010 law based on comparative projections using North Carolina, which until the passage of the law had similar trends, as a comparison. Starting in 2010, overdose deaths from painkilling drugs decreased from the year before by 7.4 percent, by 20.1 percent in 2011 and by 34.5 percent in 2012.
By contrast, in the absence of such laws, the rates of death from prescription drug overdose in North Carolina have continued to increase, having increased four times from 2011 to 2012 alone — a marked difference from the positive results in Florida.