In 2011, Florida prescription drug overdoses fell for the first time in a decade. Overall prescription drug overdoses fell by 6 percent and oxycodone deaths fell 17.7 percent, officials announced on Wednesday. However, the news is mixed since overall drug-related deaths increased by 134 deaths to 9,135. Although prescription drug overdoses have fallen, more people died due to cocaine, alcohol and benzodiazepines—perhaps a result of Florida’s crackdown on “pill mills.” Florida Department of Law Enforcement Commissioner Guy Bailey told the Sun Sentinel, “At this point, it’s speculation” that people are turning to other drugs due to a smaller supply of oxycodone.
In February 2011, a study found that Florida doctors prescribed 10 times more oxycodone than the rest of the states combined. That year, Florida instituted strike force teams to target prescription drug dealers and increased physician’s participation in a state drug database. Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi told Sun Sentinel she was “shocked” at how quickly the reforms worked, since they were in place for only six months during 2011.