The number of Oxycodone-related deaths in Florida during the first six months of 2012 has significantly dropped, according to new data released by the state’s Department of Law Enforcement.
In Orange and Osceola counties, where prescription drug overdoses have been prominent in recent years, there were 42 oxycodone-related deaths reported from January to June of 2012, the Orlando Sentinel reports.
“Two years ago, Florida was the epicenter of prescription drug abuse; today we are a national role model for both enforcement and regulation,” FDLE Commissioner Gerald Bailey said in a news release. “We’ve made tremendous strides, but prescription drug abuse remains a significant concern.”
The state’s medical examiners reported a total of 4,126 drug related deaths in the first half of 2012. Oxycodone ranked third in the most frequently-occurring drugs found in autopsies — the first were benzodiazepines which account for more than 2,500 deaths from January through June 2012.
Oxycodone was widely prescribed in Florida in the previous years. But new legislation has made it more difficult for people to obtain certain prescription drugs. Similarly, oxycodone has become more expensive, particularly in Central Florida.
The Metropolitan Bureau of Investigation Director Larry Zwieg believes that the decrease in prescription-drug related deaths is a result of the combined education efforts and the law enforcement’s efforts aimed at targeting rogue doctors and pharmacists.