Florida has been making headlines in the opioid epidemic, bringing forth attention from around the country. According to a group ConsumerProtect.com, Miami Florida “has done more than any other state to reduce opioid sales.” The group just announced the release of a study using data from the Drug Enforcement Agency.
The state has seen some of the highest opioid overdose rates in the country. Deaths involving opioids increased by 35 percent between 2015 and 2016. In 2017, Florida medical offices treated around 18,000 overdoses and opioid-related treatment costs exceeded $1 billion.
However, the study brings good news. Researchers found that Florida reduced its sales of opioids by 62 percent- down from 77 kilograms to 29.4 kilograms per 100,000 people- from 2010 to 2017.
Oxycodone (Oxycontin, Percocet) and Hydrocodone (Vicodin, Norco) were the opioids studied in the report. The DEA is responsible for tracking the sales of these two main variants of synthetic opiates.
Florida is also paving the path for a better system of approaching and treating addictions head-on. The Florida Alcohol and Drug Abuse Association (FADAA) has used resources provided by the Florida Legislature, the Office of State Courts Administration, the Department of Children and Families (DCF) and partner addiction treatment centers in Florida to engineer a program that provides a comprehensive approach to address the barriers to patients’ access to addiction treatment and hopes other states will follow their model.
The state’s programs also include the University of Miami-run pilot program, which was created by the Legislature in 2016, allows the exchange of needles to cut down on the spread of HIV, hepatitis C and other blood-borne diseases among drug users.
Maine (down nearly 47 percent) and Delaware (down 46 percent) behind Florida for states to reduce opioid sales in the eight years.
The state rankings survey puts, Florida at No. 17 among the states for the most opioid sales per capita at 29. 4 kilograms per 100,000, which beats the national average of 24.4 kilograms. The survey also reports, in 2017, the highest rankings states for opioid sales were TN (44.3 kilos), OK (43.1) and NV (40.5). States with the lowest sales were MN (14.2), Il (14.5) and Washington D.C. with the fewest number overall with 10.6.
Even though the report shows significant declines in sales among the top-ranked states, such as Florida, the Opioid epidemic is far from over. Earlier this month, three reports published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced that the U.S. life expectancy rate dropped for a third time within three years due to the drug crisis and skyrocketing numbers of suicide.
According to a Washington Post report on Nov 29., “This is the longest sustained decline in expected lifespan since the period of 1915 to 1918 during World War I and a 1918 influenza pandemic.”
Americans have shaved off about 0.1 years of their life lifespans each year since 2015, “bringing the latest projection to 78.6 years from 78.8 in 2015.”, As reported by the Smithsonian.
They also stated that if broken down by gender, men could live to an average of 76.1 years, down from 76.2 in 2016. Women still outlive men with an expectancy of 81.1, the same age as in 2016.
“Drug overdose, many due to the abuse of opioids, is the new leading cause of death among Americans under the age of 50, overtaking automobile accidents and heart disease,” ConsumerProtect.com said. “Today, the opioid crisis in America has become a public catastrophe.”
Anyone struggling with substance abuse can reach the 24hr addiction helpline to speak to a addiction specialist at 888-325-2454