Keep New Times Free

16,650 Floridians Killed by Prescription Drug ODs in Six Years

Tallahassee finally got around to putting an end to Florida's out-of-control pill-mill mania, and the move couldn't have come soon enough. New numbers released today show that deaths linked to prescription pill overdoses were up 61 percent between 2003 and 2009, and 16,650 Floridians were killed by prescription pill ODs in those six years. 

At the same time as prescription drug deaths rose, deaths related to illegal drugs decreased. 

Here's the number released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention via the Sun-Sentinel

Prescription drug overdose deaths: Up 61 percent. There were 2,905 in 2009, compared with 1,804 in 2003. Each victim took a lethal dose of at least one prescription drug.

Prescription drug death rate: Up 84.2 percent. For every 100,000 Floridians, there were 13.4 deaths in 2009 vs. 7.3 in 2003.

Oxycodone death rate: Up 265 percent. There were 6.4 deaths per 100,000 Floridians in 2009 vs. 1.7 per 100,000 in 2003.

Alprazolam (Xanax) death rate: Up 234 percent. There were 4.4 deaths per 100,000 Floridians in 2009 vs. 1.3 per 100,000 in 2003.

Illegal drugs death rate: Down 21 percent. There were 3.4 deaths per 100,000 Floridians in 2009, compared with 4.3 per 100,000 in 2003. This includes cocaine, heroin and others.

Those are stunning increases and no doubt in part linked to the number of "pain clinics" that specialized in shilling pain pills.

I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Miami and help keep the future of New Times free.

As a side note: No one died due to overdosing on marijuana. 

Keep Miami New Times Free... Since we started Miami New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Miami, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Miami with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Miami.


Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Miami.