FLORIDA ‘PILL MILL’ CRACKDOWN SAVES THOUSANDS OF LIVES, STUDY SAYS
A new study suggests that ‘pill mills’ crackdown in Florida has saved thousands of people. Due to the crackdown, there were fewer heroin overdose and narcotic painkillers deaths, it reported.
Pill mills are those doctor-run clinics where physicians allegedly recommend narcotic painkillers for cash. In most of the cases, doctors prescribe painkiller, such as Percocet, Oxycontin and Vicodin, even without examining an individual.
The crackdown on pill mills in Florida led to over 1,000 fewer deaths in approximately 34 months, as per the study. Alene Kennedy-Hendricks, a scientist at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore and lead author of the study, said, “Curbing the operation of pill mills may be an effective way for states to reduce prescription narcotic overdose death rates and total narcotic overdose death rates”.
Deaths from the overdose of heroin and narcotic painkillers have reached a level that cannot be ignored, and the main culprit is pill mills, Alene Kennedy-Hendricks added. The study, published in the American Journal of Public Health, found an association between new law and drop in overdose deaths.
The authors of the study said they found that about 90% doctors who bought the most oxycodone in the country were from 90 out of 100 doctors. An earlier study also revealed that primary care physicians were narcotic painkillers’ biggest prescribers.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced earlier that overdose drug death rate recently hit a new high. In 2014, more than 47,000 people in the America lost their lives due to drug overdoses, as per the report.
Philly reported that, Pill mills are clinics run by doctors who purportedly write large numbers of prescriptions for narcotic painkillers for cash, often without examining the patient, the researchers said. These painkillers include Oxycontin, Percocet and Vicodin.
After Florida officials began their crackdown on pill mills, more than 1,000 fewer deaths occurred over 34 months, the study revealed.
The researchers also said fewer deaths from heroin may also be a result of the change in law in 2010 and 2011, contradicting theories that making the prescriptions more difficult to get would increase use of the illicit drug. One recent study showed have shown “alarming” increases in heroin use in the United States, and another study showed most high school heroin users started by abusing prescription opioid painkillers, told the UPI.
In Forbes news reported, Drug overdose deaths in the United States skyrocketed to 47,000 in 2014, mainly due to opioid painkillers and heroin, according to the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS). There were 18,893 deaths involving prescription opioids in the country in 2014, up 16% from 2013. There were 10,574 heroin-related deaths in 2014, up 28% from 2013. Deaths involving drugs like fentanyl and tramadol, synthetic opioids, increased by 79% from 2013-2014.