Prescription drug deaths drop in Fla. after crackdown on doctors

Deaths involving narcotic painkillers dropped 26 percent over two years in Florida after stricter doctor scrutiny, according to a report from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The New York Times: Prescription Overdose Deaths in Florida Plunge After Tougher Measures, Report Says
Prescription drug overdose deaths in Florida fell sharply after the state began strengthening its prescribing laws and stepping up enforcement. Federal researchers said Tuesday that it was the first significant documented decline in the nation since the epidemic of prescription drug abuse took hold more than a decade ago (Tavernise, 7/1).

Los Angeles Times: Crackdown On Florida Clinics Leads To Decline In Deaths, Report Finds 
Public health officials have identified a sharp decline in overdose deaths involving prescription painkillers for the first time in a decade. Deaths involving OxyContin, Vicodin and other narcotic painkillers dropped by 26 percent over two years in Florida after a crackdown on pain clinics that dispensed high volumes of the medications, according to a government study released Tuesday. Lawmakers there barred doctors in these "pill mills" from selling the drugs they prescribed (Girion, 7/1).

The Associated Press: The South Prescribes More Painkillers, CDC Says 
Powerful painkillers have been driving the nation's rising rate of overdose deaths, and now the government is singling out the states where doctors write the most prescriptions. A second report released Tuesday spotlights how a crackdown in Florida led to hundreds fewer overdose deaths from prescription painkillers in just a few years. The reports are part of a campaign by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to combat deaths from prescription opioids like Vicodin and OxyContin. In 2011, drug overdose deaths reached 41,000 and 41 percent of them involved prescription painkillers (Stobbe, 7/1).

The Boston Globe: Mass. Ranks Low Overall In Prescribing Opioids
Massachusetts physicians rank among the top 10 nationally in prescribing OxyContin and other long-acting painkillers, according to a government report released Tuesday that highlighted wide state-by-state variation in the rates of use of addictive opioid medications. But the state ranked low, 41st nationally, for overall prescribing of opioids, which have become a major concern because of rising rates of abuse and overdose deaths. Long-acting pain medications such as OxyContin are only one of several types of opioids, which also include methadone, codeine, and hydrocodone (Abutaleb, 7/1).

http://www.kaiserhealthnews.orgThis article was reprinted from with permission from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Kaiser Health News, an editorially independent news service, is a program of the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan health care policy research organization unaffiliated with Kaiser Permanente.


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