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Prescription Drug Epidemic: Oxycodone Deaths Still High In Florida

Governor Rick Scott held a news conference on Monday and while overdose deaths from oxycodone and other prescription drugs have increased in Florida, Scott was able to boast of some progress in the fight, but others are skeptical of improvement in the situation that has been dire for so long. “I’m not even that hopeful we’ll see much improvement in the first half of 2011 but I am optimistic that we’ll see some kind of a response by the end of the year,” said Jim Hall, the director of the Center for the Study & Prevention of Substance Abuse at Nova Southeastern University. A new report from the Florida Medical Examiners Commission said that 2,300 people in Florida died from prescription drug overdoses in 2010, an increase of 7.9 percent in 2009. There was a 28 percent increase of oxycodone deaths or deaths from a combination of oxycodone and other prescription drugs. Governor Scott boasted of 937 arrests since March, including 17 physicians. The state seized 252,410 pills and there was progress in the number of oxycodone pills sold in Florida. “We may be cutting back supply but we’re not ending addiction,” said Hall. “The real challenge ahead is what are we going to do with all these addicts? What treatment options? It’s going to be rehab or heroin.”

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