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Pinellas and Pasco Counties Lead Florida In Prescription Drug Deaths

An upsetting new report found that two Florida counties – Pinellas and Pasco – lead the state in the number of people dying from prescription drug overdoses. This has resulted in officials wondering whether the prescription drug deaths in the two counties are truly highest, or only appear high because other parts of Florida are not reporting their statistics completely. “Either it’s real, we really are higher, or they’re under-reporting elsewhere,” said Dr. Jon Thogmartin, the medical examiner for Pinellas and Pasco counties. According to the Florida Medical Examiners Commission, last year 2,710 people died from prescription drug overdoses. That is a shocking 8.9 percent increase from 2009 – almost 8 people every day. That figure could be much higher if other parts of Florida are not properly reporting their data. “I’ve always felt that the numbers that are reported in the annual report actually underestimate the problem because some cases simply don’t get reported for one reason or another,” said Bruce Goldberger, professor and director of toxicology at the University of Florida College of Medicine.

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