War on Drugs Fail: Heroin Deaths Back on the Rise in Florida After Pill Mill Crackdown
Here's the truth about the war on drugs: You can pass new laws. You can carry out police stings. You can put people behind bars. You can squash one growing probably, like Florida did with pill mills. And, yet, even after all of that people are still going to find ways to abuse drugs.
See, heroin deaths are on a significant rise in Florida, and it likely has something to do with the state's crack down on the illicit sale of prescription opiates like oxycodone.
According to The Miami Herald, heroin deaths were up 18.8 percent in 2011, and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement flagged it as one of the year's most harmful drugs. That's 62 deaths in total. Eighteen occurred in Orlando. Miami was second with 15 deaths. The heroin death rate in Florida had been on decline since 2001.
The Herald also reports that local rehabilitation experts say they've seen a trend of addicts who can no longer afford oxycodone (30 mg have jumped from $10 to $30 on the streets since the pill-mill crackdown) switching to straight heroin. Meanwhile, you can still get some smack for as low as ten bucks a hit.
It's just the latest unexpected consequence since Florida's pill-mill clean up. The Wall Street Journal reported last month that Georgia has now seen a surge in pill mills as the illicit industry has moved just slightly to the North.
So, we can crack down on crooked doctors that prescribe opiate to anyone who asks. We can make a big show out of banning synthetic truck stop drugs like "bath salts." We can intercept coke shipments at seas. We can throw small-time weed dealers behind bars. Yet, people are still going to find ways to get high. Perhaps we might do better concentrating on treating addiction, than running around in futile circles trying to complete the impossible task of getting drugs off the street in the first place.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you’ll never miss Miami New Times' biggest stories.