Florida Has Country’s 17th Highest Drug Overdose Rate

Florida’s 2017 drug overdose rate was responsible for 25.1 deaths for every 100,000 residents, according to statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

That number represents a 17% increase from the prior year, and officials project the number of deaths to increase to 59 per 100,000 by 2025.

These overdoses include all types of drugs, from opioids and fentanyl to cocaine and heroin, although heroin overdoses have decreased compared with overdoses from opiates.

This is worrisome for health officials, because opioids, generally, are easier to acquire. But according to Benjamin Miller, the Chief Strategy Officer for the Well Being Trust (a drug abuse and mental health awareness advocacy group), said that more stringent regulations and control of pain medications is only part of the problem. “It’s really about social and community factors that are much harder to address,” he said.

Miller recommended a number of solutions or ways to improve the problem. Most of them deal with education, for children and students, for patients who are prescribed opioids for medical procedures, pain management techniques, improving methods for tracking and disposing of expired drugs from clinics and hospitals, wider access to health insurance and access to substance abuse treatment centers.

Miller said the country simply hasn’t made prevention of drug problems a priority. And it costs the United States in lost time and money. In 2014, approximately 3.8% of individuals diagnosed with drug, alcohol and suicide issues were estimated to cost in the neighborhood of $249 billion. That’s over $20,000 per person on 12 million people.

Other grim news from the report indicated that 39 of 50 states had higher overdose rates than in 2016. Opioid overdose rates were driven up by the increase of synthetic opioids on the market, such as fentanyl.

To educate yourself about the opioid crisis, check out the U.S. Dept of Education.

If you know someone struggling with opioid addiction, check out American Addiction Centers of Florida. They have lists of centers all over the state. Many facilities accept Medicare, and they have locations catering to only men or only women.

Article Source: WLRN Radio

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